2009. november 17., kedd

Umbria to promote Open Source in schools

The regional government of Umbria is investing 100.000 euro to promote the use of Open Source in local schools. The Italian region will soon train students, teachers and education management in the use of this type of software.

The project is paid for by the European Social Fund. Primary and secondary schools can submit project proposals to an evaluation committee. Proposals can be either for basic training of Open Source software, the technical and didactic use of Open Source operating systems, or on training and testing of educational Open Source applications.

The initiative, unveiled in February, is one of the first concrete steps in implementing a regional Open Source law. This law, called 'Norms on the matter of computer science pluralism; on the adoption and spread of Open Source software and on the portability of documents in the regional administration' was adopted in July last year.

Maria Prodi, Umbria's councillor for Education initiated the school projects. She said they are meant to spread the concept of free software, "one of the ways to freely express and exchange ideas and information".

Prodi: "Just like ideas, software permeates the socials system and has ethical, economical and political consequences. It affects the culture in which the next generation is educated."

The councillor hopes that the school projects will spread computer pluralism in the public administration and help to end the current software monopoly, with 90 percent of software applications delivered by a just a few companies. "This requires an enormous but unavoidable investment."

Cost reduction

Cutting costs is another reason for public administration to switching to Open Source. Provincial leader and political leader of the Civic Greens, Oliviero Dottorini, said the Open Source law should free up valuable economic resources in public administrations, schools and enterprise. "These currently spend a significant amount of money to buy or renew software licences."

Source: Osor