Delphi in South African High Schools

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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 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 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!
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David Intersimone (known to many as David I.) is a passionate and innovative software industry veteran-often referred to as a developer icon-who extols and educates the world on Embarcadero developer tools. He shares his visions as an active member of the industry speaking circuit and is tapped as an expert source by the media. He is a long-standing champion of architects, developers and database professionals and works to ensure that their needs are folded into Embarcadero's strategic product plans. David holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, California.
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