The department of basic education (DBE) has withdrawn its decision to standardise on software tools for the computer application technology and IT subjects for school grades 10 to 12.
The DBE issued a circular in October, stating that the two subjects be limited to Microsoft Office and the Delphi programming language respectively, leading to a storm of controversy.
IT strategist and free and open-source software advocate Derek Keats penned a blog post, which quickly went viral, in which he decried the department’s move, arguing that it is imperative for schools to “excite” the next generation of software engineers.
“Teach a moribund language [Delphi] is not going to excite anyone,” Keats wrote. He said it would be “far better” to teach a programming language actually “in use” in the commercial world. “Any 21st century language would be better than Delphi. Any at all.”
According to the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which has lobbied strongly against government’s proposed changes, the DBE has now withdrawn its decision to standardise on software tools for the two school technology subjects. The decision was announced to all branches of education in circular S15, dated 12 December. The move means the status quo remains.
According to the chamber, the DBE met with representatives from industry and took time to review concerns. A stakeholder meeting took place on 6 December.
It says the process has “highlighted the need to review a curriculum that is over 10 years old that positions computing in education as a narrow channel for specific university programmes and professional careers”.
“The past decade has seen a much faster adoption of computing skills to the point where it has become a core competency in many if not most careers,” the chamber adds. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media
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