THE number of computing science teachers in Scotland has dropped sharply, sparking fears for the future of the subject.

New figures show teacher numbers in the subject have fallen by 109 in the past two years - a drop of 14 per cent.

One in eight secondary schools in Scotland do not have a computing science specialist at all.

Kate Farrell, co-chair of professional support body Computing At School Scotland, which collated the figures, said pupils were being "sold out".

She said: "At a time when, more than ever, we need subject specialists teaching computing science, we have actually seen a fall in num-bers. The industry needs programmers, software and web development experts, but currently we don't have enough skilled young people to meet the demand.

"It is clear we need to increase the number of students training to teach computing science over the next few years as a matter of urgency."

The call follows widespread concerns that too many schools teach computing in a passive way and do not make students aware of the career opportunities available. Some schools have even closed their computer science departments, blaming a lack of interest.

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said the UK was throwing away its "great computer heritage" by failing to teach programming in 2011.

And in 2012 Ian Livingstone, co-author of a report on the future of the UK gaming industry, said Scottish schools should give computer science the same prominence as chemistry physics and mathematics.