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Delphi Goes to School in Russia

Michael Desmond, founding editor of Redmond Developer News and Desmond File blogger, is on vacation. Filling in for him today is Kathleen Richards, senior editor of RDN. You can reach her at [email protected].

Microsoft isn't the only company that's trying to get students on board early. In early February, Borland's developer tools subsidiary CodeGear announced a sizable licensing agreement for the Eastern bloc. The company joins Corel and other as yet unannounced vendors in a deal with the Russian Federal Agency of Education to provide technology and other resources to teach programming in primary and secondary schools.

"It's a forward-looking investment by a government looking to build the next generation of technologists in the country," said Jim Douglas, chief executive officer of CodeGear, who has just returned from a trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg where his company has a development office. The Russian education program is targeted at students between the ages of 7 to 17 years old.

The up to 1 million-seat licensing agreement involves Borland's flagship rapid-application development environments: the Windows-based Delphi, Delphi for .NET and C++ Builder. "It's a combination of some older versions and newer versions. They are also using some Pascal products," Douglas said.

Forrester Research senior analyst Jeffrey Hammond views CodeGear's recent announcement in the same light as any large enterprise agreement. "It's a good first step," he said, "but to capitalize on it Borland (or an integration partner) and the Russian education system needs to have an aggressive roll-out plan to make sure the copies actually get into the hands of the target users and put into active use.

"It will take some time to do that, and only after that effort will we be able to really judge the impact of the deal," Hammond added.

Right now, CodeGear doesn't have similar agreements in place with any other educational systems. "Education is a significant part of our story around these technologies," Douglas said. "It is something that I am personally trying to re-inject into our company, into our culture and into our focus. But we are certainly not on the doorstep of doing anything this major anywhere else."

What do you think about putting development tools into the hands of primary, secondary and college kids around the world? Will early education better prepare the future workforce? Send your comments, rants or better ideas to [email protected]. --Kathleen Richards

Posted on 02/21/2008

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