[fosscomm] MHRD draft policy on ICTs in school education says 'Free and Open Source software should be preferred'

Parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Fri Jul 24 20:33:22 PDT 2009


Some important points from FOSS point of view are as follow:

The draft policy says 'Free ware, free and open source software 
applications will be preferred.' . Very early in policy objectives is 
speaks of creating 'an environment of collaboration, cooperation and 
sharing'.

It speaks of open and universal access to content at many places. In 
fact it is one of the most recurrent theme. It speaks of 'creative 
commons' licenses. Not sure, but dont think any GoI policy yet 
officially refers to these licenses, though I may be wrong.

However, in the end, as Guru's note points out it, mentioning a BOOT 
model as the preferred one for implementation can be very problematic, 
and can undo most of the progressive features of the policy.

On the other hand, unlike the earlier draft last year, which took Public 
Private Partnership as the central mantra, which was clearly there to 
enable large software and content companies capture the public education 
market, the part on PPP in the present draft is mostly around non-profit 
and voluntary activities. Indeed, FOSSCOMM's response to the policy 
draft can begin on this positive note of offering help through 
volunteers, whenever and wherever possible, to kick start 
teacher-training processes, since such training is stressed in the policy.

We can of course add a lot on how FOSS adoption can help constructivist  
form of learning apart from saving costs etc.

Open standards are also mentioned in a few places.

We can specifically seek that the policy makes it mandatory to first 
consider FOSS for any area, and any other choice made should be 
sufficiently justified, and taken only as an interim measure till..... 
Something to this effect.

parminder

Guru ???? wrote:
> Dear friends,
>
> MHRD has released a new draft of the National Policy for ICTs in 
> School Education (NPISE) recently (see 
> http://education.nic.in/secedu/ict.pdf).
>
> This document is far better than the earlier one released in Jan 08 
> (see 
> http://itforchange.net/media/NPISE/policy_wkbook_with_comments.pdf for 
> the older policy draft). It clearly emphasises teacher professional 
> development, local content creation, universal access, teacher 
> pre-service and in-service training, ICT literacy as a precursor to 
> ICT enabled learning etc.
>
> While the earlier policy draft did not have even a single mention of 
> FOSS, the current draft states in para 5.3.2 "Free ware, free and open 
> source software applications will be preferred".
>
> I have written 'some overall comments' on the policy in a 1 pager (see 
> "Some overall comments on the NPISE 24.07.09 FOSSCOMM" attached). We 
> request comments and subsequent endorsement from FOSSCOMM on this 
> note. The last date for receiving comments is 29 July, hence I request 
> your comments and suggestions well before then, so that we can share 
> the same with MHRD. We can also write to MHRD at the email id given in 
> the bottom of the document.
>
> Look forward to your comments/response at your earliest. Would request 
> Narendra  if he can put this up on the FOSSCOMM wiki as well
>
> regards,
> Guru
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