I have previously written about trade unions. Or the lack of commitment from the trade unions (blog post here: http://lodahl.blogspot.com/2007/05/where-is-trade-unions.html ).
Lately I have seen two Danish trade unions take a stand: They will provide their members with Microsoft certified courses. First it was HK/Samdata http://www.version2.dk/artikel/3857 that are dumping the marketplace with almost free Microsoft certification. This week I could read that another trade union is about to take up competition. The union is Prosa http://www.prosa.dk/News/index.php3?story_id=2989 who is also 'selling' Microsoft courses. This latest initiative is quite surprising, because Prosa has been very active in the work for open standards from a competitive point of view.
Why offer a Microsoft course to the members ?
Why not offer courses in game development ?
Why not offer courses in Java ?
Why not offer courses in XML ?
Why not offer courses in ITIL and Prince2 ?
By offering courses in vendor specific products like Vista and .Net, the trade unions becomes a part of the problem: We all think that a Microsoft certificate is needed to get a job and because of that we actually need it. Not because it's relevant, but because everybody agrees that this is a must-have certificate. As a result, all decision makers is schooled by Microsoft and partners.
I don't mind that the trade unions are offering IT courses to the members. I think it's a good idea. But the education should not be a part of the Microsoft strategy: Take over the education. We have seen that in public school and universities. This strategy makes Microsoft products de-facto needs in business.