Letter: 'Net surfing' is not a computer skill

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Sir: As a senior software engineer working for a major computer network company, I read with astonishment the statement "but even computer games will build up keyboard skills" in your article "Britain leads way in PC world" (2 May).

When I conduct job interviews I am not impressed by candidates who boast of creating World Wide Web pages. Computer literacy has nothing to do with playing games, using word processors, or "surfing the Net" - it is not about computers. Computer literacy is the ability to analyse situations, flexibility of thought, confidence in intuition and an interest in learning from experience. Teaching children information technology "skills" is useless unless you teach these characteristics to support them.

Schools should forget spending money on expensive computers and spend it instead on more teachers to keep class sizes down and on teaching children to think.

Stephen Read

Oxford

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