The decision was criticised by many in the IT industry, some arguing it would stifle innovation and competitiveness in the country. The department issued a circular to schools earlier this month.
Panyaza Lesufi, the spokesman for the
Critics have been up in arms about the department's decision to use proprietary Delphi as a programming language instead of Java for the advanced IT progamming course, claiming that Delphi was an outdated language used by few programmers globally.
A Microsoft South Africa spokeswoman yesterday distanced the company from the department's exercise. She said the department had not specifically contracted
"The Cape chamber would like to look at possible solutions to improve the state of basic education and to advance the use of technology and development of software skills," it said in a statement.
The department said the standardisation would be implemented in 2015 for Grade 11 classes and would apply to Grade 12 classes the following year. The department circular said the standardisation was applicable to schools that wrote the National Senior Certificate examinations.
Lesufi said discussions about the standardisation began almost a year ago. "It's an industry that has many players and people want to put their products there," he said in response to the criticism. He said the standardisation allowed conformity across the provinces because fragmented standards made it difficult to develop an appropriate national assessment. "It becomes difficult to set a paper."
He said the department remained open to input about the most appropriate technology to adopt over time but that it had to kick-start its standardisation policy without delays.
The department had identified costs associated with the training of teachers.
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