Sydney, May 16 : From next year, HSC students in North South Wales, Australia, will be given a chance to opt for a course in Wikipedia, the online collaborative encyclopedia.
The NSW Board of Studies has listed Wikipedia, one of the world's top-10 most visited sites, as prescribed text for an elective course in the English syllabus for 2009-2012.
The Wikipedia course would be a part of an elective called the Global Village, a course examining how the world's communities communicate and interact.
Don Carter, the English inspector at the Board of Studies, says that the objective behind this course is to teach students skills of analysis so that they may better understand the text they come across on the Internet.
"It was felt that Wikipedia reflected notions of the global village; that fluidity, of being up to date and changing in a way that other websites don't do," theage.com.au quoted him as saying.
The decision to teach students about Wikipedia has been welcomed by education.au, a non-profit-making educational training organisation run jointly by the Federal Government and the education sector.
"The reality is that, with one click of a mouse, you can get information from anywhere at any time around the world, which is fantastic," said Greg Black, the CEO of education.au.
"But what the kids really need to learn about is whether it's fit for purpose, the context, the relevance, whether there's an alternative view - an understanding about how to use information in an effective way," he added.
A local Wikipedia editor, who writes under the pen name of Privatemusing, has also welcomed the move.
He said that it would expose high school students to the "good, bad and ugly sides" of Wikipedia.