Microsoft buying its way into curriculums?

— 10:36 AM on August 15, 2002

Microsoft has put up $10 million to fund technology R&D at Canadian universities, but there's a pretty hefty string attached. In order to get a grant, universities have to offer a course in C#. C|Net reports:

As part of the deal, the University will offer a programming course in Microsoft's new C# language. The class will be available online for approximately 1,500 high-school students applying to the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at the University, a first for the University.

The class will also be mandatory for the 300 students per year who are accepted. The new class would replace an existing course which taught C++ to new students.

Universities are no strangers to corporate sponsorship; my Alma Mater has an deal with Coca Cola that makes it damn near impossible to get a Pepsi product on campus, but the money the university gets goes to fund facilities and services for all students. What's particularly disturbing about this Microsoft deal is that the university is changing their curriculum to get a measly $2.3 million in grant money that will only be used for research.

Microsoft effectively bought a slot in the Engineering curriculum for their C# programming language, but I'm not sure if perhaps the university isn't more to blame for selling out. This is grant money; it's not like Microsoft held a gun to their heads.

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