Delphi decision a ‘wake-up call’
Following a meeting on Wednesday, the Cape Chamber of Commerce has come out all guns blazing against the department of basic education’s decision to standardise on Microsoft Office and programming language Delphi in schools.
The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry has slammed the department of basic education’s decision to standardise on the Delphi programming language in South African schools, warning that the decision is “indicative” of what it calls the “deteriorating state” of IT education in South Africa.
The chamber made the comments in a statement following a meeting of its digital portfolio committee on Wednesday. The meeting was called after the basic education department issued a circular in which it said Delphi would become the new standard for the IT curriculum in schools and that implementation would begin in 2015. Many provinces currently teach Java instead. The department also decided to standardise on Microsoft Office in the computer application technology curriculum.
Wednesday’s meeting included small businesses, educational institutions, professionals and technology practitioners, the chamber said in the statement.
“Standardisation on one technology or programming language for education and assessment in computing and software skills is problematic. It is much like trying to study medicine based on the kidney as the only part of the human anatomy, said chamber portfolio committee chair Roderick Lim Banda. “If the issue is a lack of teachers and resources, or the need for standardising teaching and assessments, we feel that there are alternatives.”
The Cape Chamber said government’s decision is a “wake-up call to industry to intervene urgently” and it plans to lobby for it to be re-evaluated and reversed, “if possible”.
It claimed that there has been a lack of industry consultation from the basic education department. It also warned that the decision to standardise on Office and Delphi is “anticompetitive” and “benefits two large US corporations at the expense of others” and is in “direct conflict” with government’s policy about using free and open-source software.
“The committee and group participants decided on five action points, which include a paper to be produced within a month as a means of lobbying for re-evaluation of the decision at a national level,” the chamber said.
“The committee also agreed to develop a set of guidelines, which it will circulate to members and other businesses to create awareness of the issues and for commerce and industry to take the lead in assessing computing skills as the benchmark for educators.” — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media