More than 5100 people have signed the call to promote open formats and interoperability in the French educational system, a campaign initiated in November by April, France’s free software advocacy group. Their call for interoperability in the education system (Appel pour l’intéropérabilité dans l’Education Nationale) is supported by 100 teachers, as well as employees and school trade unions.
“To work together better and more efficiently; and to improve the teaching quality, we are asking for the implementation of a simple and clear rule: documents provided by the public service of Education Nationale and all documents that are exchanged, including texts, spreadsheets, presentations and videos, have to be saved in open and interoperable formats”, April writes on its campaign website: “For example, DOCX and XLSX formats are not open compared to ODT or ODS formats”.
The group adds that schools should not accustom pupils to the lock-in strategy of dominant software vendors.
Tools instead of brands
The campaign is open to teachers, parents associations, unions, Education Nationale’s employees, organisations and all citizens. The campaign is endorsed by the Document Foundation, involved in the development of LibreOffice - an open source suite of office productivity tools. “Education really needs open formats and free software; our children need to learn how to use solutions instead of commercial products. They should enjoy their rights, without the restrictions of proprietary software that lack freedom and openness”, the Document Foundation is quoted by April as saying.
In 2013, the French parliament lowered the priority for the use of free software and open formats in educational. Instead, the parliament wants free software and open formats to be considered as an an alternative.
More information :
April’s Call for interoperability
Appel pour l’intéropérabilité dans l’Education Nationale (in French)