Kerala schools to fully migrate to FOSS, to save Rs.300 crores

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Trivandrum: With the decision of State Curriculum committee to implement Free & Open Source Software (FOSS) in Higher Secondary section also, it’s the end for proprietary software in School Education in Kerala, following the footsteps of Primary & High School sections.

Even though the FOSS based education started in 2005, it was made mandatory by 2007 with Government of Kerala making it official with a Government order. Thus Kerala has the largest deployment of FOSS in Education Sector, as part of the ICT enabled education being implemented by IT@School in High School section in the State.

The shift to Free Software in Higher Secondary is planned to be implemented without making any changes in the critical structure of NCERT Syllabus, but by incorporating changes in the software which is being used. Accordingly, the revised textbook would include Free Software applications such as GNUKhata which would replace the proprietary Tally software, Libre Office Calc and Base which replaces Microsoft Excel and Access applications.

“IT@School would immediately implement mechanisms for easy classroom transactions of chapters including customisation of applications, teachers training, video tutorials etc”, said Anvar Sadath K, Executive Director of IT@School Project.

The IT@School GNU/Linux Operating System based on Ubuntu is pre-loaded in all laptops and desktops for school. Beyond normal Operating System functionalities this is an integrated package that contains applications like Office packages, Database applications ,DTP, Graphics and Imaging software, Sound recording, Video editing , Animation packages, Integrated Development Environment (IDEs) for programming, Web Server & Database server, Geographical Information System ( GIS) etc. This also contains Educational software like Geogebra, Phet, Stellarium , Kalzium, Marble, Razmol, Gplates, Gcomprise, Pysio Game, Dr Geo, Celestia etc.

According to a press note from IT@School, the proprietary version of these software would have incurred a minimum cost of Rs.1,50,000/- per machine in terms of License Fee. Hence the minimum savings in a year (considering 20,000 machines) is Rs. 300 crores. It’s not the cost saving that matters more, but the fact that the Free Software license enables not simply teachers and students but also the general public an opportunity to copy, distribute and share the contents and use it as they wish.

“IT@School would not be able to come up with such extensive ICT education programme if the proprietary software was in place”, added Anvar.

Kerala IT News

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2 Comments

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  2. This is a great move. Free software (refering to freedom, not price) gives freedom to users and does not control users. Unfortunately there is talk only about the cost savings due to free software, not the freedom part, which is very important.