POSSE SA Day 3

Very interesting day, though not according to the schedule, but unscheduled things seemed to have struck a core on what the University should be doing really.

The current reality is that there is really not much contribution to the open source world from African Universities, South Africa included, despite the reasonable good infrastructure we have. It is just hitting home that that  the main goal of POSSE is really to get more people involved in FOSS from this side of the world. How do we get more people in Africa to contribute to FOSS?

At CPUT, we are in the process of updating the courses and debate about what we teach rages on as usual. Apparently schools are also becoming good at teaching programming languages and the question really is should Universities be teaching programming languages, as their core IT curriculum?  For example, kids in school are now being taught Java, and as with all things, that teaching is going to get better going forward. Question is: should Universities be spending their effort in teaching Java as well? Shouldn’t their effort be better spent on preparing these students to be part of the software world? Shouldn’t we be preparing our students on how to contribute to a lot of open source projects around the globe?

Why should Universities be just happy to teach programming languages which Students don’t really use as evidenced by the low contribution to software projects around the world?  Perhaps it is time for Universities to focus on addressing problems around us and the world using IT tools and skills to solve them.

Students need to be prepared on how to be part of the FOSS community. Giving students TOY “Hello World”  projects that are thrown away ( or rather archived for institutional audit) as soon as they are marked should be stopped really. Students need to be prepared on how to work collaboratively in the real world and on real projects and the FOSS ecosystem has a lot of such projects. Obvious this process needs to be thought out clearly and these are just my off the top of the head thoughts. The goal really is to make what is shown in the image below come to pass.

What can we do to make this happen?