"Every second apprentice fails on using computers"

Posted by wjl on Aug 12, 2007 5:25 AM EDT
LXer Linux News; By wjl
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That is the result of a study from TNS Infratest, paid by German Microsoft CEO Achim Berg (43), and published in the German BILD am Sonntag.

The study found that although most of the 500,000 learners of "The Google Generation" can play and surf with computers, they don't know how to use "important business software" like Microsoft's Word.

Now they founded an "Initiative IT-Fitness" (no need to translate that one, hm?), and offer to provide a "suitcase with material for teachers and students" to "help to improve that situation".

To me, that looks like the typical "study" to improve the income of a multi-million-dollar-corporation, not like the study upon the knowledge of our next generation. Ask the wrong questions, and you will get wrong answers. The school system in Germany isn't that bad, and our kids aren't stupid, like the article says. They are clever enough to see the real problem, which Microsoft doesn't seem to get:

Why should a student learn and thus further cement the use of outdated, proprietary software, and - even more important - file formats? They do learn in our schools, but what they use is free software and a truly open document format. Thus, we can see a new sort of "digital divide", and this is between business "intelligence" (the old school) and the new kids on the block, who are clever enough not to fall to all the marketing hype, and who often enough tell their teachers how important this all is, before the schools get it and improve the situation into the right way.

My advice to Microsoft would rather be: put your OpenXML into the attic - this is where it belongs - and get your act together and support interoperability and the use of truly open formats like ODF (the Open Document Format), if you want to continue to make money. The market rules, and old-school thinking is clearly not appropriate for these times anymore.

And please: stop bugging our politicians with your so-called "studies", even if they are often not as intelligent as our kids are.

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