A DECISION to use only Microsoft Office and programming language Delphi for computer-based subjects at schools should be reviewed and possibly reversed, says
The committee met yesterday to discuss these changes, which had been met with much unhappiness, made by the
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.
These changes were communicated to provincial departments of education in a circular signed by acting director-general
There had been an outcry on Twitter by a number of advocates for free and open source software, which led to the department clarifying its decision. It had needed to standardise the software tools used to implement and assess the subjects, the department said.
He said the department's explanation that free and open source software could not be used as it had insufficient support made no sense.
"It would create a lot more support if they had a generation of people who were trained in open source. Are we creating a development mindset or are we creating a consumer, user mindset?"
He said the committee would lobby widely to get the decision reviewed.
He added that if the circular hadn't been criticised, the decision could have slipped by largely unnoticed. "The impact of this would not have been seen for the next 10 years.
"We already have a skills issue… This decision has major ramifications for education and schools."
Department spokesman Panyaza Lesufi did not respond to a request for comment.
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