|C++ in schools|
What objective could possibly be served by offering such courses at the school level? Are the designers of preuniversity syllabi aware of the prevailing reality in schools and colleges?
When our educational planners introduced computer science courses in schools, they completely ignored the fact that this subject is not as basic as mathematics, physics and other conventional science subjects. A proper understanding of computer science demands an adequate background knowledge of the basic science subjects. In the name of computer literacy, we cannot introduce courses that are better suited to more mature students. Courses involving C/C++ are definitely not meant for +2 students. Should we ignore the fact that these form part of the syllabi of MCA and BSc/MSc courses and there too the students often study these relatively late?
It is therefore debatable whether introducing computer science in schools is at all desirable. The fact that computers are finding a place in our everyday life is in itself not a sufficiently convincing argument. In this connection it must be observed that biotechnology and environmental science are equally useful and relevant but cannot be introduced in schools in the same way as they are introduced in universities.
Even if it be conceded that this subject needs to be taught in schools along with other basic sciences, one question remains to be answered. Is C++ the right programming language that can help a student to understand the principles of programming languages? Is it not true that the syntax of C++ cannot be said to be user-friendly and that even expert programmers admit that debugging for errors is much more difficult in C++. Moreover, can we expect the students to grasp the concepts of data abstraction, concealment, objects and classes on one hand and pointers, dynamic memory allocation, etc. on the other hand?
Another serious practical problem related to this issue is finding adequately trained teachers for recruiting in schools.
Thus, it is up to the academic community of the country to decide whether the introduction of C/C++ at the +2 level is an indicator of the wisdom and vision of our top educationists or whether it isÿa reflection of their intellectual bankruptcy.
Y. P. JOSHI
Department of Physics,
Banaras Hindu University,
Varanasi 221005, India
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