Crippling technology in South Africa, the Department of Basic Education makes really bad choices

This is a reaction to the blog post: “Department of Basic Education bans Free and Open Source Software in SA Schools and mandates programming an ancient, moribund language in contradiction of government’s own policy”, read it with this post.


What on are they thinking! Do they want South Africa to suck at technology.

I am a software developer, and consider myself on the cutting edge of technology and how it used today. The Department of Basic Education obviously has nothing else to do.

Mandating the use of Microsoft Office, and teaching children how to use office applications:

Teach school children how to program, not how to use Office programs, they’ll pick up the use of them anyway, or relegate the use of software like Word Processors to the English/Afrikaans/Xhosa class where they belong. Countries who stopped teaching children how to program, have realised their mistake and are reversing the decision, and get them using the $25 Raspberry Pi. This is what is happening in the UK.

Choosing Delphi as a language to teach children to program

Why? In South Africa’s and the World Software Industry nobody is using Delphi to develop new systems, why set the learners up to fail. I admit I have a historical soft spot for Object Pascal/Delphi, but Java (or C#, Ruby, Python, even PHP) would be a better choice. Android applications are developed using a Java-based toolset, and what children would want to develop apps for their phones. All the languages I mentioned also run comfortably on a Raspberry Pi. I’d vote for Python and Java.

Betting on Windows

Windows is becoming increasingly less relevant then it used to be, introducing children to OS concepts and a broad range of choices, such as Android, iOS, Linux, Mac OS X, and ChromeOS – as well as Windows, would be much better. Linux and Android are particularly good choices for their ease of use, and ability to get close to the hardware, e.g. you actually learn something.

Open Source

Teach children the philosophy behind open source, it will make them better technologists.

Marco Gallotta has this to say

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