LONDON, August 27, 2011 (AFP) - Google chairman Eric Schmidt has attacked the British education system, saying a failure to appreciate the importance of computer science was holding the country back in the digital age.
In a lecture at a broadcasting conference in Edinburgh on Friday, the chairman of the Internet giant accused Britons of "throwing away your great computing heritage" by promoting a separation of arts and sciences in education.
"If I may be so impolite, your track record isn't great," he said.
"The UK is home of so many media-related inventions. You invented photography. You invented TV. You invented computers in both concept and practice.
"Yet today, none of the world's leading exponents in these fields are from the UK."
He said he was shocked that computer science was not taught as standard in British schools, adding: "Your IT curriculum focuses on teaching how to use software, but gives no insight into how it's made."
Schmidt also laughed off criticisms that Google was trying to "take over the world" and planned to make television content on a large scale.
"Trust me, if you gave people at Google free rein to produce TV you'd end up with a lot of bad sci-fi," he said.
Schmidt was the first non-broadcaster to give the landmark lecture at the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, a major event in British broadcasters' diary.
Prominent figures from the broadcasting world have delivered it in the past, including News Corporation chief Rupert Murdoch and his son James.