CH: School IT agency recommen…

CH: School IT agency recommends switching to open source

Published on: 30/03/2010

The Swiss agency for IT in education, SFIB, is recommending that all schools switch to open source software. The IT agency is developing support offerings for schools that are using free and open source software.

The IT agency for Swiss schools, SFIB (Schweizerischen Fachstelle für Informationstechnologien im Bildungswesen) on 1 March posted several documents on its web site, recommending schools to start moving to free and open source software and to stop purchasing or renewing proprietary software licences.

The SFIB assists primary and secondary schools with their IT and is part of Educa, a non-profit education service provider funded by the Swiss government.

To increase the use of open source in schools, Educa for instance is about to start pilot projects with Lernstick. This is a USB stick preloaded with the Linux operating system and about a hundred open source applications useful for schools and in education. Examples include geography application KGeography, math programs GeoBra, Maxima and KBruch, as well as multimedia and office productivity applications.

The Parliamentary Group for Digital Sustainability on 18 March, a group of about thirty members of the Swiss parliament, in a statement welcomed the decision by the IT agency. In the statement, Christian Wasserfallen, member of the Swiss parliament and co-president of the Parliamentary Group, says: "For the educational sector this could help to create a level playing field, reduce costs and increase innovation."

Swiss and German IT media write that SFIB's recommendations are the result of a conflict with the dominant proprietary software vendor, over licence costs and privacy concerns.

More information:

Statement by the Parliamentarian group for Digital Sustainability (in German)

Recommendation of the Swiss Agency for ICT in education (in German, zip file)

Lernstick (in German)

List of software on Lernstick

Inside IT news item (in German)

Computerworld news item (in German)

Linux Magazine news item

Heise news item (in German)