[ILUG-BOM] An Important News Regarding FOSS

Milind Oka oak445 at gmail.com
Wed May 3 12:36:34 IST 2017

Hi all,

In reply to my letter, SSC/HSC board had assured to implement the open 
source policy in School Education. (Letter dated 19-05-2016)
They only put footnotes in Syllabus that "open source software can be 
used in the ICT".  Of course convincing Schools
and Jr Colleges to adopt FOSS on the basis of this letter and footnotes 
would not have been possible. So I called it as "Symbolic Exit of 

But I am too happy to inform you that on 1 July 2016 a proper circular 
was released which instructs schools and Jr colleges to prefer FOSS in 
clear words.
I came to know about it through an HT article (Thanks to Dr Kamath, and 
to Prof Tayyab Ali for pointing out this article). Consequently 
"Maharashtra Times"
published another one.

I suppose this clears the most important hurdle in proliferation of FOSS.

Its great that we have started the monthly meetings at right time. In 
the first meeting, we talked about visiting Schools and Colleges. With 
this circular in hand
Schools, Students and Parents are little more likely to adopt FOSS. Also 
students can now participate in our FOSS Projects (we have planned this 
in first meeting) without dilemma as there will be no proprietary names 
in Text Books and in question paper.

I am thankful to all members of this group and especially old members 
for keeping us all connected for such a long time
and for always encouraging new members like me.

I take this opportunity to congratulate State Board for taking this 
decision in favor of FOSS.

Links for two news paper articles and the circular :


Thanks and Regards
Forwarding the old relevant thread for reference.

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: 	Re: [ILUG-BOM] Exit Of Microsoft from School Education ?
Date: 	Wed, 1 Jun 2016 11:12:02 +0530
From: 	Rushabh Mehta <rmehta at gmail.com>
Reply-To: 	GNU/Linux Users Group, Mumbai, India 
<linuxers at mm.ilug-bom.org.in>
To: 	GNU/Linux Users Group, Mumbai, India <linuxers at mm.ilug-bom.org.in>


Congrats on your excellent follow-up. Every small victory matters. It is unfortunate that the people in government don't really care. Let us know what help you need from the community.

> On 27 may 2016, Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education has given a reply to my notice. Maharashtra State Board was neglecting Open Source directives given by MHRD. Though the Circular in this regard was issued, it was published in the education booklet "Shikshan Sankraman" !. The circular as Important as this, which could have saved huge amounts for Schools, must have been given to Schools directly and it must have been given wide publicity in major news papers.
> The Board's claim that by putting a note - "Schools and Colleges can use Open Source Software" on index page, they have followed directions given by MHRD is ridiculous. In the remaining pages of the reply, Board has given photocopies copies of the changes they have made in 2016-17 text books to be printed soon, and they have clarified further that Open Source can be used in "Theory as well as in Practicals" which is very important.
> Note that MHRD has used the word "PREFER" while Board is cleverly using "CAN"  !
> Anyway, I assume that this is only a symbolic exit of Microsoft from State's Schools Education.
> This covers State Schools and Junior Colleges in Maharashtra. But University Education too is compelling degree colleges to use proprietary software. Situation is somewhat better in Engineering courses but in the courses such as Computer Applications (TYBcom), there are softwares like MS Excel and Visual Basic. Also there are direct questions in the examination on the commands used in Excel and VB. I am going to send similar letter to Mumbai University too.
> Also the course  MS-ACIT has been made mandatory for teachers. This course is exclusively an advertisement of Microsoft and other other proprietary software. Since after removing proprietary software from school. This course, which itself is a violation of MHRD notification, becomes meaningless for teachers. Hence appropriate changes are necessary in this course curriculum. We have to follow this matter in Education Department.
> I request all to help Schools in Maharashtra aware of the purpose and significance of this change and make open source movement stronger. Otherwise it will remain only on paper.


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