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An animation class in progress in a Kerala government school
 
 
Kerala leads Open Source drive in education

 State is a leader in migrating schools system, to FOSS
By Anand Parthasarathy
Thiruvananthapuram, March 3 2017: Kerala's school  education system has  fully migrated to Free and Open Source software ( FOSS), making this arguably the largest  such rollout globally in the educational arena.
Information technology has been a part of the High school curriculum in Keralaswince  2003 with IT being a compulsory subject  at the 8th standard The shift to FOSS came in 2005 and two years became part of government policy across all departments. In August 2008, Government instructed all institutions under General Education Department to strictly use Free Software alone in all future teaching and training activities. With the decision of State Curriculum committee to implement Free & Open Source Software (FOSS) in Higher Secondary  as well, the entire spectrum of Kerala education became 'Open'.
A July 2016 circular , directed  all departments to cease the usage of proprietary software and to use FOSS.  Asa a follow up,  the Computer Science and Humanities sections in the Higher Secondaryshifted to Free Software. But in the Commerce section  of Higher Secondary, use was being made of  Tally package  for Computerised Accounting System. This was on a Microsoft Windows platform.
That too has been addressed: revised textbooks  will soon include Free Software applications such as GNUKhata which would replace the proprietary Tally software, Libre Office Calc and Base which replaces Microsoft Excel and Access applications
Says Anvar Sadath.K, Executive Director of IT@School Project:  “IT@School  is implementing  mechanisms for easy classroom  transition  of chapters including customisation of applications, teachers training, video tutorials etc."
The  Kerala IT@School GNU/Linux Operating System is a distribution  based on Ubuntu  and is pre-loaded in all laptops and desktops for schools. Beyond normal Operating System functionalities this is an integrated package that contains applications like  Office packages,  Database applications ,DTP, Graphics and Imaging software, Sound recording, Video editing , Animation packages, Integrated Development Environment (IDEs) for programming, Web Server & Database server, Geographical Information System ( GIS) etc. This also contains Educational software like Geogebra, Phet, Stellarium , Kalzium, Marble, Razmol, Gplates, Gcomprise, Pysio Game, Dr Geo, Celestia etc.The proprietary version of these software would have incurred a minimum cost of Rs.1.5 lakh  per machine in terms of License Fee. Hence the minimum savings in a year (considering 20000 machines ) is Rs 300 crore.

 




    


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