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The world has entered the information age. More people now work with information, manipulating words and numbers, than work in production, manipulating things. Computers are the machines of information workers. Due to the remarkable advances in computer and communications technology computers have appeared everywhere. They have been so reduced in size that computers now appear as part of many other products even wristwatches. They have become so inexpensive that they are available to even the smallest office or organization.

 

While technology is now affordable, the additional costs of training personnel and of providing technical support are often overlooked. While computers are described as "user-friendly" they are, in fact, very complex machines requiring considerable training and experience to use effectively. There is a need for highly skilled computer professionals to plan, develop or maintain large-scale information systems, as well as those with the potential for productive scholarship as computing career academics.

 

Towards addressing these needs within the context of Botswana, the Department of Computer Science was established in 1992. The department was then saddled with the dual mandate which is to produce graduates ready to take on the challenge of computing professional practice in the industry, as well as that of academic career. For this purpose the programmes of BSc in Computer Science and Diploma in Computer Studies were initiated in 1992. The BIS (Computer Science) programme was introduced in 2001.

 

Feedback from relevant stakeholders revealed that the BSc and Diploma programmes were not adequate in meeting the insatiable demand for computing personnel needs in Botswana. The curriculum has been regularly reviewed, leading to removal of some programmes and the introduction of new programmes. There is continuing demand from the stakeholders that the Department produces in appropriate quantity, quality and cadre, graduates who are able to competently take on the challenges of effective and productive deployment of computing science and technologies, for social progress and economic advancement of the nation. Such graduates require not only the academic, theoretical computing knowledge and skills, but also the business, and practical know-how that will enable them to become productive professionals in practice. Further, the range of knowledge and skills required span undergraduate and postgraduate levels of academic experience.

 

This kind of demand by the Botswana industry stakeholders is not peculiar. Rather, global pressure from the private and public computing industry has resulted in most Departments of Computer Science world- wide, evolving curricula models aimed at balancing computing theory with practice. Lying at the core of this global trend is to accommodate "Pure" and "Applied" Computing as programme streams within an undergraduate programme.

 

As we enter the new millennium, computing is an enormously vibrant field. From its inception just half a century ago, computing has become the defining technology of our age. Computers are integral to modern culture and are the primary engine behind much of the world's economic growth. The field, moreover, continues to evolve at an astonishing pace. New technologies are introduced continually, and existing ones become obsolete in the space of a few years. The rapid evolution of the discipline has a profound effect on academic computing as a discipline. Most influencing of the changes are technological and socio-cultural. These changes must be reflected in the department's computing curricula.

 

Technological changes affecting the discipline of computing come from advances in technology. Many of these advances are part of an ongoing evolutionary process that has continued for many years. The 1965 prediction by Intel founder Gordon Moore that microprocessor chip density would double every eighteen months, which is now widely understood as Moore's Law, continues to hold true.
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