UK MPs criticise government for blocking Open Source software in education

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A group of UK MPs has criticised the government because they say that the Department of Education and Skills (DfES) and Becta policies favours proprietary software vendors (such as Microsoft) in schools and colleges rather than allowing for the adoption of open source software. Lib Dem MP John Pugh has called for a fair approach to ICT procurement in the education sector.

The UK Government itself has shown that savings of up to 60% could be made by schools and colleges using Open Source software.

MPs support for the Early Day Motion is the result of sustained lobbying by Open Source industry groups the Open Source Consortium (OSC) and Open Schools Alliance.

John Pugh MP said, “Becta and the Department for Education and Skills… are effectively denying schools the option of benefiting from both free and open source and the value and experience small and medium ICT companies could bring to the schools market.””

Mark Taylor, OSC President said, “Schools and colleges must keep pace with the adoption of Open Source software in industry or limit the employability of their graduates.””

What do you think? Should schools be able to adopt open source software?

Andy Merrett