Software sans royalty for education

BANGALORE: Open-source software has proven to be cost-effective wherever it has been implemented, including the  education sector. For the first time, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) ha

Published: 06th February 2012 08:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 05:50 PM   |  A+A-

BANGALORE: Open-source software has proven to be cost-effective wherever it has been implemented, including the  education sector.

For the first time, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has taken to open-source software as against proprietary software such as Microsoft Office.

This year, Open Office, an open source software suite, has been installed in computers in 419 state schools, with which the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has made a saving of Rs 53,63,200.

“Earlier, we used to procure Microsoft Office, and the vendors quoted us Rs 2,560 per unit. By doing away with that, we have ensured that we save a lot,” said Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Programme Officer H B Chandrashekhar.  

While cost is the obvious guiding factor, Chandrashekhar said that open-source software like Open Office is also beneficial for educational purposes.

Open to Easy Understanding

“Contrary to popular belief, open-source software also come with easily understandable features. Most importantly, open-source software is free,” he said.

This year, 335 schools (with additional 84 schools) under SSA’s Computer Aided Learning scheme will get five desktops and one UPS each. The operating system on these desktops is the popular Windows 7.  “The initial idea was to have Ubuntu (a Linux-based operating system) bundled with Windows 7. However, we feared that lack of training in open-source platforms would lead to confusion among students and teachers,” he said.

Chandrashekar added that introduction of Linux-based platforms was also being discussed in the Technical Approval Panel (TAP).

With the introduction of Open Office software suites in school computers, the District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) will play a major role in ensuring teachers and trainers are acquainted with open-source software.

‘Important to Education’

Speaking to Express, DSERT Director H S Rama Rao said, “DIETs will train teachers in both MS Office and Open Office. I believe that open-source is important in education, as computer literacy is not the sole objective. Open-source becomes an aid to learning as well.”

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