On Thu, Oct 30, 2003 at 09:05:26AM -0000, ICT Support Officer wrote:
It is really sad the way Microsoft products are being
pushed into schools.
Even when they hardly appear to be the "best tools
for the job" in many cases.
Schools appear to be struggling with their finances in
UK and not one senior
voice have I heard that maybe it is time to push Microsoft out of schools.
Quite a few voices appear to be calling for more
Microsoft in schools.
Imagine how much money can be saved and used in other
projects, for example
renewing hardware etc.
My school recently paid about £10,000 just to renew Microsoft Office
licenses. I obtained a site license for Staroffice for free from Sun but the
total inflexibility from senior IT teachers was a fight to lose for me as
Was this for the *same* version of MS Office. Or is
this an example of where Star/OpenOffice is "too
different", but the differences between MS Office 97,
MS Office 2000, MS Office XP & MS Office 2003 are not
considered an issue. (So much so that I ended up having
to "downgrade" Office XP on one of our LFTs to Office
the network manager. I sometimes wonder why some
teaching staff are called
IT teachers when they know very little of IT but earn high salaries.
If they were being asked to cough up 10 grand it might
be a different story.
Education authorities are also to blame as I believe
they probably receive a
slice of profits from industry by pushing commercial software into schools.
Whilst there might be some backhanders involved most of
it appears to be more a matter of mentality. With LEA
advisors being familiar with all the latest buzzwords
in proprietary software. But often ignorant of anything
to do with open source software. (At times ignorant of
fairly basic issues surrounding ICT usage in schools.)
There is so much free and fully functional software
out there for education.
To muddy the waters futher we have "Curriculum Online"
and E-Learning "credits" which amount to public funding
of proprietary software. (Including stuff which no-one
would actually buy if it came directly from school budget.)
Also purchasing with these "credits" easily winds up
going to subject teachers who know little about software
licencing or getting a badly written piece of software
usable by a class of students.
I must repeat, I am so saddened to see so much money
from schools being
The financial regulations under which state schools
operate should make buying proprietary software very
difficult. But in practice things appear to work
rather differently. If anything schools would have
difficulty paying someone to write/alter open source
software. Even though the result is far more of an
"investment" than handing over thousands of pounds
to some (quite possibly foreign) proprietary software
company for the "privilege" of using software which
could easily be sub-optimal in the first place.
St. Peter's CofE High School
Phone: +44 1392 204764 X109
Fax: +44 1392 204763