Open source can be used to teach computer science classes to secondary school pupils, Latvia's ministry of Education announced on Tuesday.
The ministry bases its conclusion on the work of a group of experts, industry association representatives, ministry officials and school representatives. The group in August started looking for open source applications that could be used for computer science classes.
According to the group open source software will be able to fulfil all requirements of the computer education curriculum in primary and secondary schools.
The group's members all agree that open source software can be used for both the basic course "Informatics" and for the advanced course "Basics of programming".
In Latvia, the ministry sets the level of education. In the case of computer science classes, it is the responsibility of school districts to purchase specific hardware and software for schools. Municipalities or schools can decide for themselves what type of applications to use.
The expert group recommends that all from now on, all examinations provided by the ministry, should use platform-independent applicable tasks and assignments, so that the examinations can in future be taken both on proprietary software and on open source alternatives. Teachers should not be forced to modify such exams, the groups writes.
Additionally the work group recommends that teachers should increase their knowledge on open source software. They also want firms publishing educational material to start supporting the use of their materials with open source.
Press release from the Ministry of Education (in Latvian)