Encourage, not enforce

France education minister rejects calls for more open source in schools

18/02/2019

On Friday, France’s minister of education declined calls from the national assembly to make the use of free and open source software a priority in schools. According to the minister, schools are already encouraged to consider the use of free software and open ICT standards.

Opposition members in France’s Assemblée nationale (the parliament’s lower house) had tabled three amendments. One of these would make the use of free and open source mandatory in schools, while the other two would have made it a priority. The discussion will now move to the Sénat, the parliament’s upper house.

Jean-Michel Blanquer, France’s Minister of Education, in discussion with the Assemblée nationale on proposals by the opposition to make free and open source mandatory in schools.
Jean-Michel Blanquer, France’s Minister of Education, in discussion with the Assemblée nationale on proposals by the opposition to make free and open source mandatory in schools.

April, France’s free software advocacy group, in a press release on Monday said the minister’s rejection “conceals a lack of political will to implement a genuine public policy for free software”. “A policy is built by setting priorities, not with mere encouragements,” the group added.

Mathematics

The use of free software in education has a long history in France. Back in 2004 a group of teachers started Framasoft (combining "FRAnçais" and "MAthématiques", or French and Maths), to support their schools in using this type of software.

The association makes available a wide range of free-software tools and services, many of which are available online. Framasoft’s online text collaboration tool Framapad, for example, seems to be quite popular among teachers for use in school projects. “To protect their privacy, we don’t track our users,” Pierre-Yves Gosset, Director of Framasoft told the European Commission’s Open Source Observatory. “We know that the tool is popular with teachers only because they tell us via email and messages on social media.”

Framasoft has been trying to talk to the ministry of education to organise better support for its suite of applications. At the same time, the group is critical of the ministry’s framework proprietary licence agreements.

More information:

Press announcement by April (in French)

Comments

Mon, 18/02/2019 - 22:06

Maybe the French government lacks knowledge about software deployment and governance and therefore are more prone to accept the perspective from influential software multinationals.

Sat, 02/03/2019 - 08:40

Just yesterday, in a debate with Mr Macron, President of the French Republic, he pointed out that on the IT side, "I quote", we are completely dependent on multinationals. Indeed, our policies have been making this observation for almost 30 years, but on the decision-making side, there is no real ambition to unravel mechanisms that have been well established by multinationals.

[FR] Hier encore lors d'un débat avec M. Macron, président de la République française, celui-ci a fait remarquer que côté IT "je cite" nous sommes complètement dépendants de multinationales. En effet, cela fait près de 30 ans que nos politiques font ce constat, mais côté décisionnel pas de réelle ambition pour détricoter des mécanismes bien rodés par les multinationales.

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