Russia is going to install GNU/Linux in all schools in the country. This was announced by Leonid Reiman, acting Minister of Communication, at a press conference on 14 September.
According to a news report by Russion IT news website Cnews, Reiman said the Russians should increase the development of Open Source and other software, since this will help reduce the country's dependence on foreign software. Next year Russian software is to be tested in three pilot regions, Tomsk, Perm and Republic of Tatarstan. The domestically developed software will be installed on every school computer in 2009.
The ministry of Communication added it will soon carry out tenders for the development of Open Source software. These will be for adapting existing Open Source applications or the development of new Open Source applications. "The main aim of the given work is to reduce dependence on foreign commercial software and provide educational institutions with the possibility to choose whether to pay for commercial items or to use the software, provided by the government", Cnews quotes the ministry.
The ministry in July approved plans to develop an collection educational software based on Open Source software. In reaction to this plan, several Russian Open Source IT-services companies formed an alliance to participate in the tenders.
Russia is not the first country to develop policies on Open Source software in education. Two years ago, the South Korean government announced plans to install a Korean distribution of GNU/Linux in some 10,000 schools in the country. Japan this year announced it will install GNU/Linux on school PCs. Turkey is also developing plans for using GNU/Linux in schools.
There are no EU countries with similar national education policies. However, in many members states schools are making inroads in the use of Open Source. In Extremadura, one of Spain's seventeen autonomous regions, some 40,000 desktop PC's in schools use Gnu/LinEx, a customised GNU/Linuxdistribution and a selection of Open Source applications. These are used by about 80,000 students. In Italy, the regional government of Umbria is investing 100.000 euro to promote the use of Open Source in local schools. In Paris some 175.000 students will have just received USB keys preloaded with Open Source applications, when they returned to school earlier this month.
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- Cnews news item (in English)