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India’s NCERT recommends GNU/Linux for schools across the country

National Council Of Education, Research and Training (NCERT) has released a notification on their website which promotes the use of Free and Open Source software in Indian schools. This notice is released well in time, as other schools, colleges and government institutions in India are already moving to open source software to save costs and prevent vendor locking. NCERT is responsible for maintaining standards in most government and private schools and educational institutions in India.

Earlier CBSE, one of the major national education board, also made changes to the syllabus which made the curriculum vendor neutral. Years ago, the government of Kerela also migrated to GNU/Linux operating systems for schools, thus making one of the largest migrations to open source in India ever.

The advantages of moving to open source software are many, though most institutions adopt it to save cost over licensing. Other benefits include:

  • No vendor locking, and the institution can switch to software they like any time
  • The ability to choose over a large number of flavours of GNU/Linux and use the one that they like the best.
  • Ability to work in a standard, open format that is free from binary blobs and accessible to anyone.
  • Commercial support available on demand. Community support is free of cost.

The notification read:

The requirements of the curricula are not to be hardware or software specific. Undoing the general trend of limiting software to office applications, which are not only ill suited for educational purposes but also tend to narrow down the view of what computers and ICT can achieve, a wide range of software applications specifically designed for education are introduced. Use of proprietary software would become very expensive and make the implementation unviable. Therefore, Free and Open Source software have been suggested throughout the curricula. The use of FOSS applications will also obviate software piracy and enable customisation to suit local needs

You can have a look at the full notification here.

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