Why only Delphi, Java (and VB) for South African schools?

mm001

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All I can say is that I was in the first batch of IT students and matriculated in 2008. It is probably the only subject you do at school which takes you quite far into its corresponding university degree. My BSc Computer Science degree was a breeze. We did Java in all 3 years and I would say for the first 1.5 years, about 80% of the content covered I had already learnt from my high school IT. My second major was Information Systems and this too was simplified because of my matric IT. DB created, SQL queries, normalisation, DFDs, ERDs.
 

recre8

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I matriculated 2002 and we still learned Turbo Pascal. My cousin is about 5 years younger than me, and they used Java. He struggled quite a bit, because everything was so overwhelming when you first start. What is "static"? What does the "public" stand for?

And I'll agree, it was a hard sell for him to continue with Computer Sciences because it was just so many things you had to grasp from the start, and you saw little reward for all the hard work you do. Java to me just isn't a starter language, and the decline in students is understandable to me.

Using a GUI designer gives students the immediate feedback and they can see that the next step is "telling the button what to do". In Java, the expected way is to create a button in code, position it to some numbers that have no meaning yet, link up an event handler and get forced to wrap everything in something called an exception handler ("just write it that way, you don't need to understand yet what an exception handler is"). Its just too abstract.

I say, get them hooked on something simple as VB or python (or any other high-level language) and then start teaching them the deeper and more fundamental concepts.

As a sidenote: I don't know if things have changed since my time, but for god's sake, having Computer Science in Afrikaans is bad enough, but teaching them the Afrikaans acronyms is just ridiculous. A CPU is a 'SVE' (sentrale verwerkingseenheid), CD-ROM was 'KS-LAG' (kompakskyf lees-alleen-geheue). Siesa!
 
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Cyberdude

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I matriculated in 99 and we used Turbo Pascal 7. I think that foundation worked out really well for me.
 

Hamster

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I wonder if the "difficulty" of the language used has any real effect on student interest. When they enroll surely they have no clue as to how difficult that language is going to be.
 

Veroland

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I matriculated 2002 and we still learned Turbo Pascal.
I matriculated in 94 and we used to do Pascal

I say, get them hooked on something simple as VB or python (or any other high-level language) and then start teaching them the deeper and more fundamental concepts.
In my view python is a scripting language, when you start out with that people find it difficult to comprehend the more complex concepts.

Personally I don't mind schools using Delphi, but then again, they will probably just teach the kids to make pretty windows and use database controls.
 

Bar0n

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As a sidenote: I don't know if things have changed since my time, but for god's sake, having Computer Science in Afrikaans is bad enough, but teaching them the Afrikaans acronyms is just ridiculous. A CPU is a 'SVE' (sentrale verwerkingseenheid), CD-ROM was 'KS-LAG' (kompakskyf lees-alleen-geheue). Siesa!
Why did you have to remind me of this? The horror... :crying:
 

Hamster

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While we are all coming out - I matriculated in 2004 with Java...

All I can say is that I was in the first batch of IT students and matriculated in 2008. It is probably the only subject you do at school which takes you quite far into its corresponding university degree. My BSc Computer Science degree was a breeze. We did Java in all 3 years and I would say for the first 1.5 years, about 80% of the content covered I had already learnt from my high school IT. My second major was Information Systems and this too was simplified because of my matric IT. DB created, SQL queries, normalisation, DFDs, ERDs.
...and throughout my 3 years at uni I never needed to study for any of the programming exams and finished them in 20 minutes. Information Systems on the other hand though :crying:

The point? I don't think the language you study in school has any bearing on how well you are going to do in uni. I was able to ace the programming classes because it interested me and because of that I read through all the study materials ahead of time, bought extra books (Worx etc.) and programmed during my free time - that's the difference (granted my social life took a knock).

The same thing would've happened whether I did C++, Delphi, VB or whatever in school.
 

KhoisanX

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I really don't see why there's a fuss about which language is used, the basic concepts are all the same.
Having first learned to program in Pascal I've had no issues going to Java and C amongst others.

If students are taught the basic concepts and, most importantly, 'forced' to develop their problem solving ability then everything should be fine in the end.
 

Bar0n

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Personally I don't mind schools using Delphi, but then again, they will probably just teach the kids to make pretty windows and use database controls.
Borland is dead, Delphi will follow soon enough.

Sure, Delphi gave you an advantage back in the day when everyone else programmed in C++, but languages like C# allow for even more rapid development than Delphi. Is there any university that still teaches Delphi? (UNISA teaches it in the first year to demonstrate OOP concepts, apparently, and then moves over to C++ it seems.)
 

Veroland

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Borland is dead, Delphi will follow soon enough.
Delphi is not dead, it's more like it never got a life to begin with. I've been in the industry for a long I have never seen one decent system implemented in Delphi.

On the other hand, as a start on your learning path Delphi is not bad, or actually, Pascal is not bad. The concepts in pascal can be applied to wide array of languages in use today - Java, C#, C++ etc.
 

recre8

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I really don't see why there's a fuss about which language is used, the basic concepts are all the same.
I agree with you that the language used shouldn't really matter and yes the concepts are the same. A for loop is still a iterator, and the code you type in VB vs C# vs Java is different, but the core concept is the same.

BUT I will also say that its difficult to learn the core concepts and easy to get discouraged when you have to learn to parrot "public static void Main" around your code and it won't compile because you forgot the parentheses, especially when you don't understand what "public static void Main" does, you just have to remember it exactly.
 

Jan

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Matriculated in 2001 and we used Turbo Pascal.

It was a great language for learning the fundamentals in, and we weren't burdened with the need to connect to databases using wizards in pursuit of learning to build "data-aware" applications.

We learnt the basics of structured programming, problem solving and algorithms, and that was that. (Nowadays I understand that you do at least want to teach kids about objects at school.)

The most Turbo-specific thing we had to learn (if memory serves), is its binary data file handling, and even that gave a pretty decent foundation when you came across similar libraries/built-ins in other languages.
 

LPCPT

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The level of programming skills in SA is very bad. Most people go on quick courses and just learn how to produce something. Top notch developers are very scarce. Maybe this will help by starting with the basic fundamentals.
These are children we're talking about. Get them hooked and let it go from there.
Delphi is a good start. I talk from personal experience.
 

Skerminkel

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For one, neither Delphi nor Unity fits the government’s free and open source software policy, while Java does.
Java is not OSS, or did I miss something?

...As a sidenote: I don't know if things have changed since my time, but for god's sake, having Computer Science in Afrikaans is bad enough, but teaching them the Afrikaans acronyms is just ridiculous. A CPU is a 'SVE' (sentrale verwerkingseenheid), CD-ROM was 'KS-LAG' (kompakskyf lees-alleen-geheue). Siesa!
At least it makes you think about the acronyms!

After learning Pascal and Fortran I actually found learning Java quite hard to get into. I really felt for the students who had no prior programming experience. I actually convinced the lecturer to use Afrikaans in his code. That way it was easy to distinguish between the Java code and the programmers variables and routines. Once you are into it, it doesn't matter any more.

On topic: I am not and will never be a programmer. I do find my training very valuable, though.
 
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Lazy

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I think this is being blown out of proportion for the wrong reasons. They can use ERLANG for all I care so long as it cultivates an interest in programming/IT. I also did BASIC & PASCAL back in the day and it could have been Smalltalk or something else, it really wouldn't matter so long as I could follow what was being shown, I could replicate it and I could do something that I wanted to do. Personally, if I was in a school with a great Java teacher, I'd hope he would teach Java. If there was a great ERLANG teacher, I'd hope he would teach ERLANG. But I supposed being a curriculum it has to be the same for everyone.

I've had a few conversations with Java developers and they seem to be more upset that Java is NOT being used than they are for anything else, so I think it's a moot point. I don't believe Unity to be the answer for teaching programming, head over to the makegamesa forums to see why. Unity is great for making games, not for teaching programming principles. Not saying you don't program in unity, you do. It would be a lot of FUN to teach people using Unity though...

What we should be focussing on is the information on which the decision is based rather than the decision. As usual, we pull a non-existing rabbit out of a non-existing hat and make decisions on non-existing facts and draw conclusions that may or may not be true.

But, I'd rather see this as a positive, that there is at least some kind of drive to maintain programming at school level. I mean, it's not as if we ever hear anything about it, is it?
 

Veroland

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I actually convinced the lecturer to use Afrikaans in his code. That way it was easy to distinguish between the Java code and the programmers variables and routines
You haven't debugged, until you've had to fix German code :D
 

GazWrack

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I agree with the comments about getting high school kids hooked on prgramming.
That means having them write code that does something and gives them a sense of satisfaction at having created sometihng. without having to spend hours battling to spot a missing brace or semi colon causing their entire program not to compile.

So along those lines I think having a strong IDE that gives you a clear compile error message that you can click on to see where the problem is, like the VB editor in visual studio.
 

quovadis

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I think this is being blown out of proportion for the wrong reasons. They can use ERLANG for all I care so long as it cultivates an interest in programming/IT. I also did BASIC & PASCAL back in the day and it could have been Smalltalk or something else, it really wouldn't matter so long as I could follow what was being shown, I could replicate it and I could do something that I wanted to do.
Spot on - It's the basics of programming which needs to be taught - the language is irrelevant with the exception of something which is easy to understand. It's to plant the seed and develop skill where aptitude exists.

My schooling started in the very early years with LOGO (Who remembers LT 90, RT 125 etc haha), which then progressed to BBC Basic and then Turbo Pascal in high school. The kids that were really into programming all naturally learnt other languages eg. Quickbasic/Visual Basic at the time and believe it or not some kids were into Assembler.
 
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