Community: Protest Launched Against Microsoft in Kerala, India Schools
Nov 25, 2002, 23:30 (9 Talkback[s])
[ Thanks to ZeroBeat for this link.
"We find the manner in which the software to be used at the
schools is chosen, and manner in which it is chosen, to be
disturbing. The syllabus has prescribed software by brand. It is
regrettable that the government has not framed or adopted any
guidelines or standards to be followed for choosing the software.
The IT@SCHOOL project patronises and prefers one brand over other
products; and in making this choice, the government has not
followed due procedure laid down by law. We submit that this is not
fair to creators and vendors of other software.
"...We gather that there are nearly 2600 high schools in Kera1a.
The scheme envisages that each school should have 10 computers
within next three years. Cost of prescribed operating system is
approximately Rs. 3500/- per computer. The application software
specified in the syllabus costs another Rs. 25,000/- per computer.
At the prescribed ratio of 10 computers per school, by the year
2004, this will cost the schools an astounding Rs. 74,10,00,000/-
(rupees seventy four crores and ten lakhs) - (Rs. 3,500 + Rs.
25,000 = Rs. 28,500 x 10 computers per school x 2600 schools).
"...Even if the said corporation whose software is chosen
provides software free of cost, we submit that the government
should not include it in the syllabus. Providing schools or other
educational institutions software at little or no cost, while the
same software is sold at very high prices in the open market is a
marketing trick. The corporation resorts to such tactics in order
to reap benefits of having a pool of people who are familiar with
their software packages and thus form an assured customer base,
either as users themselves or as potential skilled employees. We
are aware that equipping our students and teachers with skills in
computer usage is the primary aim of the project..."