New programming language poses problems as schools have no trained staff to teach it

The recent decision by CBSE to introduce major changes in the computer science curriculum for classes XI and XII has caused a lot of anxiety among parents and teachers.

Under the new system, PYTHON, a high-level programming language, will replace C ++, a programming language for beginners.

“My daughter, who is in class XI, has been taking extra C++ classes since last year. All of that has become useless now with the curriculum change. Instead of focussing on coaching for engineering entrance exams this year, she will now have to look for an extra PYTHON class,” said N. Kumar, a parent.

School heads say the real problem is finding teachers who know the subject, or training existing teachers. “Our faculty don’t know anything about the new language. The board could have informed us at least a year in advance. We were only informed about the decision 15 days ago,” said the principal of a school in Chromepet.

The school has already distributed C++ books to its class XI students, he added. 

Last week, heads of CBSE schools wrote to the board expressing their difficulty in training teachers in the new language. On Saturday, CBSE responded, promising schools that they would offer training and also said schools could choose to stay with C++ for this academic year.

“Training of teachers is the biggest problem here. Even though experts have told us PYTHON is an easier language, it is about changing the mindset of teachers and students,” said Ajith Prasad Jain, senior principal, Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram.

Software activists, however, are pleased with the decision and say it is in line with global trends, as premier institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology offer PYTHON instead of C++, as part of their syllabus.

“While C++ might make students’ stronger in basic coding, PYTHON will give them an intuitive approach to programming, which is more important,” said Yashwant Kodali, a free software activist.

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