Posted on Thursday, 5 Feb 2015 by Brenda Aynsley

Brenda AynsleyICT professionals have always been called on to predict the future — it’s inherent in the way we design and implement systems that enable people and organisations to do more than they previously thought was possible. In fact, we not only predict the future — we create and enable it.

So I thought I’d do a little crystal ball gazing of my own. Last year’s big policy issue, data retention, will continue to generate discussion with a federal government inquiry report due early this year. Given the inquiry’s timing over the Christmas-New Year holidays, I hope the issue received sufficient input from business and the community to represent all relevant points of view.

The government’s handling of this could have far-reaching implications for privacy and security, not to mention the costs associated with internet access.

I was pleased to see the science portfolio given more visibility in the new Department of Industry and Science, which is likely to focus more on computing and technology. Chief Scientist Ian Chubb has rightly called for a strategy in this area, which is critical for Australia’s future. Moves by Education Minister Christopher Pyne to strengthen the STEM (science, technology, engineering & maths) elements of the school curriculum are a step in the right direction.

A recent British study has found that computing and maths have overtaken English as the most popular subjects in primary school, which will benefit that nation significantly in coming years. We need to foster greater interest in STEM subjects among our children to ensure they are better equipped to compete in the digital economy. I urge policymakers to engage with teachers to achieve this outcome... Read more.