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Delphi in South African High Schools

I received an email this morning from Mirko, a Delphi developer in South Africa. In his email he talked about the opportunities available for students and developers in his country.

Glenn Wylie, our Sales Director for UK, Africa and Ireland, just replied to Mirko via email saying:

"Thank you for the email you recently sent to David regardin Delphi in South Africa education. Since April 2013 Embarcadero has undertaken a major education project in South Africa. We currently give all students and teachers a free copy of Delphi 2010. We also worked with lecturers and teachers in South African education to rewrite the syllabus for Delphi education. We now have over 12,000 students using Delphi 2010 as the official and standard programming language in 10 of the South African regions. Indeed we have sponsored school competitions and visited schools in Limpopo running a Delphi weekend in conjunction with lecturers from Tshwane University. More events of the same are scheduled for April 2014. Our partner in South Africa is also actively sponsoring education activities. UNISA has Delphi XE5 at its core curriculum."

Looking at the UNISA WikiStudent web site at http://wikistudent.ws/Unisa/Main_Page you will find two Delphi courses listed under "Information Systems" - Visual Programming 1 (INF1511) and Visual Programming 2 (INF2611). The textbook for both courses is "Introducing Delphi Programming - Theory Through Practice" by Katherine Malan, Linda Miller, John Barrow and Helene Gelderblom.

INF1511 covers (according to the UNISA syllabus):

  • Components, Numbers and Strings
  • Decision making using the IF and CASE structures
  • Iteration using the FOR and WHILE structures
  • Events and event handling
  • Data structures

INF2611does not include a syllabus. The UNISA site for this course says "INF2611 continues where INF1511 has ended. It has no structured syllabus and requires that the student takes own initiative to learn & understand concepts that are mentioned in the assignments. The overall purpose of the practical programming assignments for this module is to work towards the development of a database application, with multiple forms and menu-driven functionality and including reports."

Bertie Buitendag is one of our Embarcadero MVPs from South Africa and has been key in re-establishing Delphi in South African education. You will find Bertie’s blog at http://sadelphiitschools.blogspot.com/. Bertie is a lecturer at Tshwane University of Technology.

Languages and Tools  - The debate will go on and on and on

i know that there are some who question the use of Delphi in high schools and as the choice for the first programming language, IDE, object-oriented programming paradigm, GUI design tool and database application system. Some say there are more modern programming languages that should be considered. Modern programming languages like C++, JavaScript, Python and Java are mentioned as being good choices for beginning programmers and younger students. Python was started in 1989 by Guido van Rossum. Java was started inside Sun Microsystems in 1991. JavaScript was created by Brendan Eich at Netscape in May 1995. C++ dates back to 1979 as "C with Classes" by Bjarne Stroustrup.

In the US there are summer programs for high school computer science teachers. One worth noting is "Teach Scheme, Reach Java" to prepare students for college level computer science degrees and courses. This effort has grown into the "Program by Design" project. At the annual ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) there are always lively discussions about "imperative first", "objects first", "functions first" "declarative first" and considerations for using other programming paradigms first.

There are many other great programming languages we should all learn at some point in our careers. And, there will be many more new programming languages to appear in the future that will be considered for education and industry. I love it all!

{ 6 } Comments

  1. Bruce McGee | January 13, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Sweet!

    Can you comment about other places where Delphi is being taught in schools? Russia and Brazil, for example?

  2. Paulo | January 13, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Bruce,

    I’m from Brazil and Delphi is dead on the Brazilian universities.

    10 years ago ok, but no more Delphi, all replace in favor of Java, C#, Phyton, PHP and other free and open source languages

    E do Brasil the Embarcadero reseller in Brazil is just collecting money and not doing anything else. they have this MVP which just spam their emails over the internet, all the professors tell the students that Delphi is dead, old.

    This is the reality here, anything else people say is false.

  3. Peter | January 13, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Here the true "Education department backs down over Delphi"

    http://www.htxt.co.za/2013/12/12/education-department-backs-down-over-delphi/

  4. Alex | January 14, 2014 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    One has to distinguish between teaching tools and the
    environment he wants do develope in.

    In Europe c# jobs are significantly declining(with the spreading of the decompiler-tools?), Java has its security issues recently(and it has its decompiler-tools, too, the base problem of interpreted languages).

    So if you dont want to bestow your developement investions to the competition, you have not that broad choice, and shurely C++ and Delphi could be counted within this choice.

  5. FranzB | January 17, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    "shurely C++ and Delphi could be counted within this choice"
    als my opion doing prof. Software development on technical projects

  6. David Intersimone | January 29, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Peter - thanks for the link to the news about the South Africa education department. We know about the decisions and machinations happening. Yet, I am told by our team and some folks in ZA that Delphi is still being taught in a majority of the districts. Other districts can choose what they want to teach as well.
    I personally believe (as a user of Pascal since 1972) that Object Pascal is a great language for introduction to Information Technology and programming. The students will learn a lot of modern programming techniques and will quickly be able to build cool apps.
    When it comes time for the high school students in South Africa to move on to college, they will be well prepared to learn additional programming languages and paradigms.

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