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Microsoft pushes MCSE in Australian schools

By Dacta in News
Fri May 05, 2000 at 04:42:08 AM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

Students will soon be able to qualify for a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MSCE) certification while still at school.

Microsoft Australia has entered into deal with the Federal Government to train students in the use of Microsoft products. Students will be able to sit individual Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) exams which will go towards qualifying for an MSCE.

From http://www.newswire.com.au/0005/msmcse.htm

The Austrlian Govenment has applauded the move, saying it will help offset the IT skills shortage.

Leaving alone the problems I have with the idea of product certification in public schools, I always find it strange how non-computing people don't see the difference between tech-support type jobs which need qualifications such as a MCSE (in which there isn't that big a skills shortage) and programming, where really is a large number of jobs which can't be filled.


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Microsoft pushes MCSE in Australian schools | 39 comments (39 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Some sort of corporate certificatio... (none / 0) (#2)
by sakico on Thu May 04, 2000 at 08:29:38 PM EST

sakico voted 1 on this story.

Some sort of corporate certification in high schools certainly is more useful than your average English class (I hold elementary schools and parents responsible for making a student literate).

One of the high schools in my hometown offers Cisco certification. For next to no cost, a kid can come out of high school with abilities that can get salary that is normally restricted to lawyers, pharmacists, doctors and the like. Insiduous corporate influence or not, this is a pretty good deal.

Don't let the fact that this story is about Microsoft rule the debate.

Re: Some sort of corporate certificatio... (none / 0) (#20)
by Imperator on Fri May 05, 2000 at 07:16:02 AM EST

Yes, I agree that economic development is important. However, I don't think this will help. An MCSE doesn't mean very much in the real world. Not only will these students struggle to find jobs, but also the companies that hire them will experience lost productivity as their incompetent (but certified!) IT staff struggles against NT. Teaching programming would be more economically beneficial to the students and their communities; teaching CS would be more educational.

[ Parent ]
we all already know how microsoft k... (none / 0) (#12)
by cavok on Thu May 04, 2000 at 09:03:11 PM EST

cavok voted -1 on this story.

we all already know how microsoft keep its selling rates so high, so don't bother anymore. try to do something else.
-= cavok =-

This might have been useful before ... (none / 0) (#10)
by Ozymandias on Thu May 04, 2000 at 09:07:37 PM EST

Ozymandias voted 1 on this story.

This might have been useful before the MCSE became worthless. As it is... well, a standard interview goes something like

"I have an MCSE!"
"Yes, but can you actualy do anything?"
- Ozymandias

Heh, reminds me of an old joke. (none / 0) (#21)
by inspire on Fri May 05, 2000 at 07:19:38 AM EST

MCSE: Must Consult Someone Experienced.
--
What is the helix?
[ Parent ]
Re: Heh, reminds me of an old joke. (none / 0) (#28)
by Demona on Fri May 05, 2000 at 09:34:59 AM EST

Those who can, do. Those who can't become consultants :)

[ Parent ]
The Austrlian Govenment has applaud... (none / 0) (#3)
by Zer0 on Thu May 04, 2000 at 09:24:05 PM EST

Zer0 voted 1 on this story.

The Austrlian Govenment has applauded the move, saying it will help offset the IT skills shortage. Shortage, heh.. 49% of IT professionals leave australia and go to america/overseas/anywhere but here because we dont get paid enough. eg. Here you can start getting paid at around $30k for most IT jobs. :P

Don't know whether this is good or ... (none / 0) (#15)
by Marcin on Thu May 04, 2000 at 09:26:07 PM EST

Marcin voted 1 on this story.

Don't know whether this is good or bad :)

While sure it'll mean students have an idea of some Microsoft products before they leave high school i'd hardly call a high school student who has passed an MCP exam a 'skilled IT professional' :) Realistically the stuff they're likely to learn doing this they'd be able to pick up in the first few months of a 'real' job through doing rather than learning. Err, you know what I mean! :)

Personally I never got to do Computer Studies in High School (I'm from Australia BTW) because it clashed with the level of Maths I wanted to do.. pretty sucky considering most people who would have done CS would be the same people who were doing the more advanced math courses.
M.

Re: Don't know whether this is good or ... (none / 0) (#19)
by Toojays on Fri May 05, 2000 at 07:09:37 AM EST

Too true. In South Australia, where I finished school last year, you pick 5 subjects, and the kids going into computer science / computer engineering mostly do Maths 1 & 2, Physics and Chem, which means they can't do IT as a fifth subject, because you have to do at least one humanities based subject.

[ Parent ]
South Australian School System (none / 0) (#26)
by Dacta on Fri May 05, 2000 at 09:18:02 AM EST

Don't worry about it. I did that (I'm from SA) and I'm glad I didn't waste my time learing to use Excel & stuff at school. (Economics was my humanaties subject, BTW, which I'm pretty glad I did)

Are you at Uni now? Which course?

[ Parent ]

Re: South Australian School System (none / 0) (#29)
by Enthrad on Fri May 05, 2000 at 09:57:46 AM EST

Yep. I'm from SA as well. I chose Economics as my humanities subject, too.

CS (third year) at Adelaide Uni now, btw.

[ Parent ]
First half of the story: -1 (I don'... (none / 0) (#1)
by rusty on Thu May 04, 2000 at 10:06:28 PM EST

rusty voted 0 on this story.

First half of the story: -1 (I don't really care that much)
Second half to the story: +1 (Interesting question-- why are tech jobs so often lumped together, when the skills necessary are wildly different?)
Total: 0. I am agnostic about this. But I'd like someone to write up a better essay about why "computer repair" and "C++ programmer" are so often seen by the public as all of a piece.

____
Not the real rusty

Re: First half of the story: -1 (I don'... (none / 0) (#33)
by fluffy grue on Fri May 05, 2000 at 12:49:18 PM EST

"So what do you do?"

"I'm a graduate student."

"In what?"

"Computer Science."

"Oh, can you help me fix my computer?"

That is a conversation I seem to get into every single fucking week or so. I'm a *theoretician*, damnit, not a fucking hardware tech. :P
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: First half of the story: -1 (I don'... (none / 0) (#35)
by rusty on Fri May 05, 2000 at 02:05:06 PM EST

Analogous conversation which is never heard:

"So, what do you do?"

"I'm a physicist."

"Oh, really? Can you help me build this bridge?"

When will the various subfields in CS (and EE and etc etc) be divided in the popular imagination?

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: First half of the story: -1 (I don'... (none / 0) (#37)
by fluffy grue on Fri May 05, 2000 at 02:58:19 PM EST

Yeah, exactly. And whenever I do explain to them that computer scientists generally formulate algorithms and prorgramming methodologies and sometimes write software but *aren't* tech support or build computers, they just stare at me blankly. Then I try some analogy like "a computer scientist is like a cow breeder, whereas a computer technician is like the kid at Burger King who pops the patties into the griller," and then they think I'm just being high-and-mighty and pretentious, when really the comparison is quite apt. Then again, people have trouble understanding the difference between a doctor and a nurse (the nurse gathers the data and carries out the doctor's orders, the doctor analyses the data and tells the nurse what to do) or between an auto designer and a guy who changes oil.

fEk's rule number one: People are Dumb. I quote it often.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Say Mechanic and Manufacturing Engineer (none / 0) (#39)
by Dacta on Sun May 07, 2000 at 03:36:07 AM EST

Then you don't get the "you're an arrogant bastard" looks.

In anycase, I get the same thing (asked to fix computers), and I usually say yes and do it. I guess I'm contributing to the confusuion.

[ Parent ]

www.crapnews.net ... (none / 0) (#4)
by davidu on Thu May 04, 2000 at 10:08:03 PM EST

davidu voted 1 on this story.

www.crapnews.net

MCSE - Microsoft Degree 2000. Whic... (none / 0) (#9)
by fluffy grue on Thu May 04, 2000 at 10:15:24 PM EST

fluffy grue voted 1 on this story.

MCSE - Microsoft Degree 2000. Which goes obsolete when the next version of NT comes out, and requires an upgrade. Go figure. ;)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

I've always thought the Microsoft c... (2.00 / 1) (#6)
by Imperator on Thu May 04, 2000 at 10:18:49 PM EST

Imperator voted 1 on this story.

I've always thought the Microsoft certifications are particularly useless. Some other certifications require you to actually understand something, but the Microsoft certs seem to focus on memorized procedures without any practical value for real implementations.

My sister wants to move to Australi... (none / 0) (#13)
by RobotSlave on Thu May 04, 2000 at 11:49:52 PM EST

RobotSlave voted 1 on this story.

My sister wants to move to Australia. I dunno, it looks like the government of Oz is about as messed up as that of the one I live in.

When I was a young whippersnapper, I used to think that the system of social organization known as the Nation State had outlived its usefulness, but now I'm not so sure-- watching it get superceded by the Capitalist Corporation isn't fun. Watching the Nation State go away was supposed to be fun, darn it...

Oh, am I off topic? ;P

Re: My sister wants to move to Australi... (none / 0) (#27)
by Demona on Fri May 05, 2000 at 09:33:07 AM EST

The Capitalist State is a lot easier to ignore than the Nation State -- as long as the former doesn't start using the latter as its enforcement arm (as we see with DeCSS, et al). Alas, most of the techniques for living with and/or reducing the power of Nation States do not apply to Capitalist States.

Back on topic, I agree with another poster that this is just as silly as giving a certifying ANY specific brand or product, be it Microsoft, Apple or Linux. If "public" schools are going to continue to exist, they should be as value-neutral as possible and teach broad concepts rather than narrow niches. This allows students to learn how to learn, not mindlessly parrot or follow the herd.

[ Parent ]

I don't see offering something as "... (none / 0) (#11)
by soulhuntre on Fri May 05, 2000 at 12:05:20 AM EST

soulhuntre voted 1 on this story.

I don't see offering something as "pushing". Besides, if it was LinuxCare doing it there would be dancing in the aisles. Is it too much to hope that the anti-MS editorial tone will not come to kuro5hin?

I think it's good. While it may se... (none / 0) (#7)
by skim123 on Fri May 05, 2000 at 12:05:24 AM EST

skim123 voted 1 on this story.

I think it's good. While it may seem like MS trying to dominate the schools (which, I guess, it is), it is good for these kids to have these certifications, by uping their employability. There are tons of available "consulting" jobs (at least here in the states) where having these certifications counts.

An interesting side note, check out this article: Microsoft's Youth Movement. It's about MS hiring teenage consultants to "tell them about the Internet." Sounds more like a PR stunt than anything else... but, kind of related... perhaps MS is trying to tap into the kids before they go to college and use real operating systems and learn to not like MS?

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


When the corporations start enterin... (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by MadDreamer on Fri May 05, 2000 at 12:38:16 AM EST

MadDreamer voted 1 on this story.

When the corporations start entering into deals with the governments, I start cringing. Yeah, I know, I cringe a lot these days.

But what if these kids don't want to learn all about Mickeysoft? What if they want to be Linux experts? Or even Mac experts? Or any of the many many other technology jobs that don't use any MS products? The kids are going to learn what they're offered. History has proven that only a rare few are going to spend their own time studying and learning and programming in dark rooms at home to learn real computer skills.

Seperation between the commercial world and the state would be such a beautiful thing... but then again that's a dreamworld.

Re: When the corporations start enterin... (none / 0) (#22)
by Toojays on Fri May 05, 2000 at 07:23:24 AM EST

It's not like the schools give their students a choice anyway: every school that I know uses Windows and Office, and AFAIK the high school IT courses over here are pretty much concerned with teaching use of Office97 as the office suite, Frontpage for making websites (not sure that they even teach HTML) and Visual Basic for programming . . . the Microsoft mindshare monopoly is mostly because the people designing the curriculum and the school IT admins (who are usually teachers first and IT second, although that's changing these days) don't really know a whole lot apart from Microsoft stuff. At least now the students will be getting a qualification which may (or may not) help them, depending on how much importance potential employers place on the MSCE.

[ Parent ]
Re: When the corporations start enterin... (none / 0) (#32)
by fluffy grue on Fri May 05, 2000 at 12:45:11 PM EST

I miss my days of being in underfunded schools which did the most of the money they did get. In elementary and middle school, everything was on Apple IIs (BASIC and LOGO), and in high school we had a nice heterogenous mixture of abandoned PCs running DOS and discounted Macintoshes. It helps that at home I had a C128 (an upgrade from the C64 I got when I was 5) and that my parents actually saw the value of me having a computer to learn how to program on.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Microsoft Certified Solataire Exper... (none / 0) (#14)
by Didel on Fri May 05, 2000 at 01:37:49 AM EST

Didel voted 0 on this story.

Microsoft Certified Solataire Expert was it? ;)

Does this mean that kids will disli... (none / 0) (#5)
by FlinkDelDinky on Fri May 05, 2000 at 02:46:03 AM EST

FlinkDelDinky voted 0 on this story.

Does this mean that kids will dislike MicroSoft at an even younger age than usual?

Who the hell needs to be trained to... (none / 0) (#8)
by evro on Fri May 05, 2000 at 04:33:21 AM EST

evro voted 1 on this story.

Who the hell needs to be trained to use Word? Give a 12 year old a computer and in a year he'll be teaching the computer teacher. Trust me on this one.
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"

More practical than most CS education but... (none / 0) (#17)
by spiralx on Fri May 05, 2000 at 06:43:53 AM EST

Well, considering that the CS education received at most schools is pretty unrelated to any set of skills which is acually useful for a career in the computing industry this is a good thing from that point of view. At least it will be practical experiance in something which is still used by people.

OTOH the real value of an MSCE is pretty low nowadays from what I've seen, and considering MS are always pushing their OSes as being "easy to use" I've always found I can do any task in NT or whatever with just an hour of playing around. So maybe they'd be better off with just telling the students "here's a server, set up a LAN" :)


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey

More practical than most CS education but... (none / 0) (#18)
by spiralx on Fri May 05, 2000 at 06:43:58 AM EST

Well, considering that the CS education received at most schools is pretty unrelated to any set of skills which is acually useful for a career in the computing industry this is a good thing from that point of view. At least it will be practical experiance in something which is still used by people.

OTOH the real value of an MSCE is pretty low nowadays from what I've seen, and considering MS are always pushing their OSes as being "easy to use" I've always found I can do any task in NT or whatever with just an hour of playing around. So maybe they'd be better off with just telling the students "here's a server, set up a LAN" :)


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey

Is this a new marketing concept? (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by Toojays on Fri May 05, 2000 at 07:26:33 AM EST

I notice that this doesn't actually get the students a MSCE, but it can count towards one . . . so it's like a crippleware or demo version of a software product -- you still have to pay $X to "upgrade" to the full thing.

Re: Microsoft pushes MCSE in Australian schools (2.00 / 1) (#24)
by el_vez on Fri May 05, 2000 at 08:13:01 AM EST

i think it may be a good thing, anything at teaches students about computers is, in my eyes, a good thing and hopefully at the end of the course they´ll see the light...

maybe it´s a natural path to follow. before i i started to use unix, i used ms products but i found that the more i learnt i was crippled by the lack of options in them. i believe that the more advanced someone is as a "user" the more you´ll be leaning towards a "higher class" operating system. so why not start out using windows? at least it´s better than nothing. (?)

Re: Microsoft pushes MCSE in Australian schools (none / 0) (#31)
by fluffy grue on Fri May 05, 2000 at 12:40:29 PM EST

Ironic that your post should be full of "smart"quotes. ;)

*ducks, and runs off to lurk in a shadowy corner*
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: Microsoft pushes MCSE in Australian schools (3.00 / 1) (#25)
by Dacta on Fri May 05, 2000 at 09:12:54 AM EST

I guess this probably only got posted because it was MS doing it, but I am really concerned at the idea of a companies (any company's) products being pushed to school kids using my tax dollars.

I was trying to think of an analogy in home economics or something about how it might be like learning to cook using only one brand of flour, but that is stupid.

I think a (secondary) education shouldn't be about learning how to use one particular tool, but about the concepts behind the use of the tools.

I can see how people learn how to weld in schools, and this is kind of like that, but I still don't like it.

Re: Microsoft pushes MCSE in Australian schools (none / 0) (#36)
by Hurst Dawg on Fri May 05, 2000 at 02:25:24 PM EST

I can see how people learn how to weld in schools, and this is kind of like that, but I still don't like it.

I don't think its like welding in schools. I think that you are on the right track, but this would be more like schools teachins students to use Foo Brand welding products because Foo sponsered them or gave them the $$ and tools to teach it.

I have no problem with schools teaching people how to troubleshoot, install, upgrade, administer, whatever in the schools. But when the only tech classes they have are on MS products that just won't work. There is so much more to the computer industry, that these kids will almost be at a disadvantage when they graduate, having only learned about one aspect of the industy. -Hurst Dawg

[ Parent ]
Arrrgh! (none / 0) (#30)
by fluffy grue on Fri May 05, 2000 at 12:39:22 PM EST

Rusty, you REALLY need to fix the moderate submissions page to show us where the break between frontpage and inside text is.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Re: Microsoft pushes MCSE in Australian schools (none / 0) (#34)
by Alhazred on Fri May 05, 2000 at 01:20:55 PM EST

This kind of thing is very bad. Sure the skills are useful, but as we are hearing more and more these days about "Corporatism" as Mr Katz likes to discribe it, we see this as just another little bite of the public sector being taken over by Corporate America (which seems to be rapidly becoming World Inc). 1st they offer MCP courses, then full MCSE, then what, Batchelor of Microsoft degree? How long before the schools are pressured to stop offering classes in "competing technology" where perhaps there are less immediate dollars to be made? Then we start having text books that are nothing but PR material for MS (or whoever, this isn't about MS per se). Truth and profit are incompatible. In fact it seems after watching a few billion TV commercials that rational thought and profit are incompatible. Where will it all end? When some corporation owns the very means by which we gain knowledge about the world, from which we as citizens are expected to make informed decisions, the last bastions of freedom will be gone. The media is already a tool, even the government is pretty well completely sold out in the US at least. Please, leave ONE haven for free thought somewhere on the face of the earth!
That is not dead which may eternal lie And with strange aeons death itself may die.
Re: Microsoft pushes MCSE in Australian schools (none / 0) (#38)
by Perpetual Newbie on Fri May 05, 2000 at 08:45:38 PM EST

I once knew a guy who claimed to be an MSCE. I had a bit of trouble trying to teach him the concept of FTP. Then again, maybe he was BSing me.

Microsoft(or Novell,Redhat,Foobar) certification will not offset the "IT skills shortage", because the certs do not involve computer science as much as they are about using a single implementation.

Microsoft pushes MCSE in Australian schools | 39 comments (39 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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