Schools in Romania are letting laptops gather dust, because the teachers don't know how to use Linux, the Romanian TV station Pro TV reports. Last year, supermarket chain Profi donated laptops running the Edubuntu Linux distributions to schools. In at least one of these schools, the laptops are still in the box and other schools have replaced the software by proprietary alternatives.
The TV station says about half of all 1800 laptops given to schools are unused.
Only a few teachers know how to use Linux, Pro TV writes in an article on its news website. Quoting one headmaster: "It is impossible for teachers to teach using two different programs." The broadcaster also quotes one IT specialist, saying that learning how to use the laptops would take just a few weeks. "It is easy and the great advantage is, that it is free."
Advocates of free and open source in Romania are upset about teacher's lack of expertise. "I've been contacting the Linux groups across the country, to get them to help the schools get started", says Răzvan Sandu. "But it is possible that schools will hesitate to accept help from outsiders."
A spokesperson for the supermarket chain explained the chain would not offer support. "This is a matter entirely for the schools to decide. Also, so far, no school has asked for help."