A DEPARTMENT of Basic Education decision to use only certain tools for computer-based subjects in schools has been met with unhappiness from advocates for free and open-source software.
Schools that offer computer applications technology and information technology will have to use MS Office 2010 and 2013 software from next year.
In addition, the programming language used in IT will be changed from Java to Delphi incrementally in 2015 and 2016.
According to the
These changes were communicated to provincial departments of education in a circular, signed by acting director-general
"It disadvantages every school child in the nation, creates a whole generation of technology slavery, and denies school learners the opportunity to learn programming technologies that are actually in use. The decision to implement Delphi is a bit like mandating Latin as the language for literature," he wrote on his blog, dkeats.com.
Keats, who had worked at
He said IT was an opportunity to excite school pupils about becoming the next generation of software engineers.
"Goodness knows, we are not producing enough of those by a long shot.
"Teaching a moribund language is not going to excite anyone.
"It would be far better to teach something that is actually in use, and to allow young people to build real world applications for cellphones, tablets, web applications, games. This is how you excite the next generation. Any 21st century language would be better than Delphi. Any. Any at all."
There had been an outcry on Twitter by a number of people who worked in free and open source software which led to the
"The decision is based on educationally sound and pedagogical considerations informed by research regarding the future of the two subjects. The decision was made considering matters that impact on curriculum delivery and national examinations where different software tools and versions impact on the delivery and fairness of these matters," the department said.
The vast majority of schools already used MS Office was one of the factors which had been considered, the department said.
"The need for standardisation of the software tools to implement and assess the subjects was identified.
"It needs to be noted that literature suggests that choosing software tools for curriculum programmes is a contentious issue. However it is imperative for the
Keats said the department's explanation was "not logical".
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