Posted by: Diabolic Preacher | December 25, 2005

this is the new shit : where’s my choice?

For those in the asking, I’ll be back in Goa by 29th dec. y’know how some people forget the li’l details…but am real happy they do and keep in contact thru my “roaming” cell or else i’d be really really bored without ’em, honestly. So gettin’ back to the topic of the post, I recently met my cousin who’s studying in IXth Std. in SFX Kolkata. Among her various subjects, the only subject (that i understand 😉 and the one i found a bit too weirdly overstuffed was the computer/it subject.

A brief intro into the education systems of goa board and sfx kolkata (ICSE). AFAIK goa board has made IT compulsory year 8 onwards, but in my cousin’s school it’s compulsory till year 7. after that they have an option of taking up economics or continuing comp. sc. (or summat’ like that). Surprisingly I hear that though my cousin is looking forward to joining the commerce stream for her +2 she dropped economics and took now another point to ponder is that she said there were no takers for economics at all. this’d have a lot of reasons behind it such as : –

  • most kolkata parents are hell bent on making their offspring engineers and IT seems to be the in thing
  • the education system right from the secondary section wants to decide your career. that feels like “walls closing in”
  • my cousin commented that economics had a lot of writing/remembering to do. also knowing that she wants to take up commerce, where a lot of writing/remembering is inevitable…atleast at +2. so generally students are attracted by the glare of the colorful monitor. even the kids in goa are, but they’ve probably no idea (thankfully) about what level of awareness sfx is aiming to make the children rise (rather fly) to.
  • the schools ain’t investing in setting an example of how alternate courses of career also is important and encourage students who have knack for it. something like india and cricket.

now the interesting part is the syllabus here. cousin’s gotta learn C, C++ (w/ data structures), Java within the period of year 9 and year 10 and these are for her board exams. the worse part (yet) is that the teachers are postponing these to the end of final terms and (supposedly) taking (needless) extra classes to stuff these languages’ (hopefully) concepts in a short period of 2 or 3 months. too much? look at who the absorbers (suckers) of this type of education is. needless to say tuitions/coaching classes is one of the biggest businesses in kolkata. there are always customers for it. just put up a sign outside your room.

as far as office productivity awareness goes, it’s the same stagnant syllabus in both kolkata and goa that even students have become bored of since they’re made to learn the same thing throughout almost entire of high school. and pathetically it’s still MS products that they (and their resistant-to-change management-controlled teachers) know of. my cousin’s like ‘i know everything in office’ , still she finds ms access difficult. 🙂 it’s not really difficult to come up with office productivity course for the school kids using alternatives to ms office (hint: OpenOffice) and an example of a software neutral office software awareness question paper from Kerala is here. I am purposely not making my alternative choice seem compulsory (although it’s s’posed to be the open source office suite with the maximum number of features…did y’all say bloat?),because there’s a need for students to learn to adapt to whatever office suite they may have to use at the workplace (if at all) and not be stuck to what they’re learning in school.

now one might say “yeah right thing’s r like that only…even here kids are learning office using ms office and they’ll learn the basic concepts” you are damn right, buddy but are you gonna pay for the license if the kid gets home assignments where he’s gotta create a file and do some content creation/editing/messing at home? what about situations where he’s gotta try out some features of the office suite just to understand things better? also the fact that ms produces proprietary formats that no other software can read…atleast exactly as intended by the original author makes it a bad choice since the formats are a way of vendor lock-ins (which ms tries to employ at every possible sector of computer/IT users) and the mere imparting of office software awareness using it is advertising ms warez in as biased a manner as possible.

kids who intend to learn stuff like programming (or for that matter any specialized subject in other professions) at no matter whatever age that they feel interested in beginning with and comfortable in continuing with, they should be fully supported (if the teachers…hopefully detect their genuine potential timely) with resources to keep their fires burning. i know merry land high school has kids can do kernel compiling but should it be part of the core syllabus?

“This Is The New Shit” is the Marilyn Manson track featured on MTV|2 Headbangers Ball vol. 1 disc 1. The song’s about how the same crap’s being re-moulded to bring out new stuff that’s being aired on the idiot box. in this post’s case how the same crap (ms office) is being taught for so many years…but in this case kids are now learning the “new shit” i.e. c/c++ java, etc.

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