Re: "...programming skills assessed only via examination..."
"in the early eighties our school programming course was paper only with the joy of 30 kids standing around the single terminal of the DEC PDP/11 housing in a room the size of a bathroom once a week watching a lucky suck-up (pupil) type the program in and seeing if it worked."
Oooooooh, you jammy begger! In my 1978 Comp Studies, we either submitted coding sheets to be typed in by the punch operator at the local town hall, or submitted rolls of 5(!!) hole paper tape and prayed we'd not made a typo. Deliveries between school and town hall were once per week. Latency between submitting the programm and getting the printout was TWO weeks. In a school of 1100 pupils, there were 10 of us on the GCE O level course.