The beginning of this century strikes the hour of the first record of training young people with the computer. Some countries came to the conclusion that training exclusively focused on practice is insufficient. Inefficient users clicking in all directions without understanding what they do, policymakers lacking foresight, lack of high-level computer on the labor market, all need to be imrpoved. In 2005 Bill Gates made a similar observation in the United States: the number of undergraduates engaging in computer studies has declined significantly and is insufficient. The relocation of Microsoft in India did not solve the problem in this country, as the shortage of qualified IT people increased the salary of the branch by 25 to 30% per year. In Switzerland, young people complain about their lack of computer skills when entering university.
Facing these troubles the trend starts slowly but gradually to reverse. Germany introduced computing courses at all levels of schooling. The United States is investing in the development of new tools for learning programming. Switzerland is seriously thinking to recognize the computer as a branch of the federal new maturity. But the reluctance remain vivid in some minds. In the Grand Council of Geneva to strengthen computer classes, a member replied that one argument shocked him, that the computer is part of our culture. IT has nothing to do with culture. It is a necessary tool as the telephone and the car.
Is computing part of the general culture, so this is the question. General culture is defined according to the dictionary as the knowledge acquired in the areas considered necessary for all to develop a critical sense, taste and judgment. This knowledge will make a person able to move and integrate into his world. With his general culture, our citizen will not only be a mere matter of his universe but also an actor. Culture is a mental representation of the world in which an individual lives. He carries a set of values allowing him to find his way. General culture, this is the map and compass for the traveler through life. Knowledge acquired and transmitted by the fundamental disciplines such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology have not only helped to better understand our universe but also made possible its transformation so that it better meets the needs of the inhabitants of our planet today, increasing steadily through technological advances, our level of economic well-being. They are one of the major causes of the first two industrial revolutions that have profoundly changed our society since the late 18th century.
No one today would dare say that these disciplines do not have their place in the general culture, as well as history, geography and literature. And all the more so in our colleges. Because these disciplines can not only form critical citizens capable of making informed decisions about the future of a community like those on nuclear power or genetic engineering, for example, but their education plays a strategic role in relation to our economic and social future. Leading scientists and engineers are now key elements of the development of a nation on the big stage.
Each of us can perceive the profound changes currently affecting our contemporary society: globalization and the globalization of trade, networking, instantaneous distribution of online services, accelerated automation of production processes. These changes affect both our lifestyle private and professional. All symptoms of our entry since the end of last century, in a third industrial revolution. The origin of such transformations? The emergence of a new discipline studying basic and applied automated processing and transmission of information: the computer. Because these changes are caused by transformation and communication constantly accelerating information from one individual to another, for trading, studying, managing or informing, from one point of the globe to another.
The Third Industrial Revolution, in the heart of where we are right now, is undoubtedly one initiated by information technology. In this context, one may legitimately doubt that an individual with no basic knowledge in computer is able to fully understand the workings of the society in which he lives and to think critically about it. He probably finds shocking not to teach computer science at school.
Basic concepts highlighted by computing not only allow us to better explain the operation of a computer or a cell but also that of our mind. The latter is called to search, sort, analyze, assemble and assimilate a wealth of information to build a coherent and critical of our world. However, if we look at how we reason to solve a problem, we find that we seek most often, consciously or not, to develop a routine for handling an automated way the information necessary to achieve our goal.
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