TL;DR version: Would anyone be interested in participating in Python education projects, either as a teacher/mentor or a manager?
This topic was possibly discussed here before-- I searched a bit and couldn't find any past discussions, so I'm raising it now. I'd be happy to hear any comments, questions, corrections and disagreements to this post. (I'm absolutely expecting to hear disagreements, because different people tend to have different opinions about education. So I'll be happy to hear disagreements)
This is about Python/OSS education in Israel. I've been thinking these thoughts for the past year, and discussed some possible solutions with fellow Python developers. (Including one who is a Python teacher in Vienna.)
The more OSS-minded Python programmers in Israel, the better, and the way to get there is to teach Python/OSS to new people, children or adults, programmers or non-programmers. When I say Python/OSS, I mean teaching Python but also teaching how to manage a Python project, for example using source control management, a bug tracker, writing documentation, communicating with other developers, basic design, and other important skills for a developer.
Now, the most Utopian thing would be if the Ministry of Education would suddenly decide that the 5-unit Bagrut in computers would consist of learning Python/OSS, including all the skills I mentioned above, and then the big universities will teach Python in their introductory programming courses instead of C and Java. That would be heaven, and in my opinion this will greatly improve Israel's tech scene in 5-10 years.
But it would be very hard to make it happen, as the Ministry of Education is very conservative, and so are universities.
So I was thinking, what can be done which doesn't require the MoE's cooperation? A few ideas come to mind.
For example, how about making extra-curricular Python/OSS courses? These can be either hosted by schools, or in community centers (Matnasim,) or in schools for gifted children, which are open-minded and have lots of talented children who can become great programmers.
Experienced Python developers could come teach Python/OSS to children on these courses. In contrast to programming classes in school, the teachers would teach the student how to get help by himself, for example by finding documentation or asking on mailing lists or StackOverflow. This is so the kids could get a lot of work done by themselves between classes, and their time with the teacher will be utilized more efficiently. (Probably most Python developers wouldn't be interested in being full-time teachers; I'm thinking about ~5 hours per week with a modest pay.) The students will spend some time learning programming, and some of the focus would be on making their own open-source projects. The project will be whatever will seem cool to them, for example it can be a pygame project, or a simple web app.
I think that the key to making this work is making it clear to parents that this course will help their kids get a good career as a software developer. (If I'm not mistaken, advancing their child's career is the main consideration that parents have.) We Python developers know how much it helps one's career to do a few OSS projects; I can testify for myself that the two OSS projects I did got me from "knows basic Python" to "makes a living developing in Python and writes readable code
" in less than 2 years. I think that the most important thing is to make this crystal clear for parents: If your child has the talent and the needed guidance to work on his own OSS project, it will boost his chances for a good career incredibly; Let's say that the (career improvement)/(time and money) factor would be at least 5 times higher than going to a university, and I'd say that's a conservative estimate. If that message will get through, the parents will be happy to pay for the course, and the kids will be happy because they could dream up any project they want and start working on it.
So that's just one idea; It can probably be improved. There are probably more possible solutions, and I'd be happy to hear them.
Of course, the question is: Who wants to take on this project? A project like this would call for a group of developers who would spend ~5 hours a week teaching children and helping with their problems; But it will also call for at least one dedicated project manager, who will coordinate all the activities, relations with schools, communities, marketing, accounting, bureaucracy, etc. This will be a hard position to fill; I would personally be happy to work ~5 hours a week teaching Python, but not more than that.
If this plan works and we get parents to pay, then we can have a decent salary for the manager.
Is there anyone who might consider managing this project? Let me know either on the list or privately, as you wish.
And again, I'll be happy to hear any thoughts about any of this.
 I think that universities get money from corporations like Microsoft and Sun, and that might have some effect on the technologies they teach, but I'm not sure about this.
 If I'm not mistaken, when I was in high-school 6 years ago, it was possible to make a web app as part of the 5-unit Bagrut. I think this was in ASP.
 Something that would help in getting that message through is to have managers from big software companies come and confirm this in person.