Results of GCSEs published today have shown that the number of students taking ICT has fallen by a further 17 per cent.
Last year 73,519 students took a GCSE in ICT and this year the figure fell to 61,022.
Symantec has echoed the Royal Society’s concerns about the standard of ICT education in schools, and said the current syllabus “too boring”.
"Students today have grown up surrounded by computers. By the time they reach their GCSEs they are already skilled enough on a computer to do most jobs,” said Tony Osborn, manager of UK public sector at Symantec.
“If we are going to extend their interest in ICT, we need to find topics that make the subject appeal to them, as well as teach them [new things],” He said. He added that information security should be included within the curriculum.
Osborn said that he also acts as a volunteer speaker for children’s charity ChildNet, where he highlights the dangers that surround children online.
“They are far more interested in poisoned Facebook applications, dirty music downloads and credit card phishing attacks than the more bland aspects of ICT,” he said.
“Students too often look at ICT without realising there is a fun and rewarding side to it.”
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) also warned that the falling numbers of ICT GCSE students should be noted because it will have a negative impact on the economy.
The institution said that more than a third of engineering companies report a lack of confidence in recruiting enough suitably qualified professionals to meet the needs of their businesses. About 20 per cent of science-related professional jobs in the UK are filled by immigrants demonstrating how significant the problem has become.
The IET said that it continually encourages action that can help fill the skills gap by showing young people how exciting and rewarding careers in technology can be. It runs a series of awards and scholarships programmes that attempt to encourage young people to pursue science and technology subjects.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has urged employers to follow Symantec and the IET in helping attract young people to study IT.
A report by the CBI showed that 67 per cent of employers believe they can encourage the study of science, technology, engineering and maths by engaging with schools.