An Initiative That Should Be Generalised in Order to Promote the Implementation of Free Software Solutions in the French Public School System
Paris, 3 March 2015, Press Release.
April welcomes the initiative of the Delegation for Digital Education (Délégation Académique au Numérique Educatif - DANE) of the Versailles school district, which untrusted Louis-Maurice De Sousa “to lead the projects of the school administration, teaching staff and local government bodies aimed at implementing free solutions and open formats.” April calls on every one of the school districts to take inspiration from this good practice, , in order to accompany the promotion and dissemination of free software resources to all educational personnel and local government bodies.
This initiative of the Delegation for Digital Education (Délégation Académique au Numérique Educatif - DANE) of the Versailles school district extends the Ayrault circular about good practices in the use of free software by government services, as well as the consideration of free software in the Framework Act for School Reorganisation (loi d'orientation et de programmation pour la refondation de l'école), and underscores the importance and relevance of April's appeal in favor of free formats in education. Turning these texts into reality was becoming essential and this initiative is a step in the right direction; April regrets, however, that but a few hours of teaching staff's time have been dedicated to this project, instead of a full-time position.
It is the first time that a contact person for everything that concerns free software in education and free formats appears in the organisational chart of a school district. Admittedly, there was a resource person for free software in the SCEREN-CNDP, but this position was not maintained.
Mr. De Sousa's role, according to the mission statement he was handed , is to “promote the development of free solutions, particularly through sharing, team training and the organisation of thematic meetings”.
This should allow the promotion and smooth establishment of alternatives to proprietary tools, which most of the time are used because of ignorance of an existing free offer that is efficient and respects its users. It should, ultimately, also allow for the growth of free educational resources for the benefit of all, students, teachers, and administrative staff.
“The choice of offering services that rely on free software services was made for ethical reasons (let us stop turning our users into proprietary company products), technical reasons (the deployment and maintenance of such services is much simpler and more reliable), and , of course, economic reasons”, said Louis-Maurice De Sousa.
“We call on each of the school districts to take inspiration from this good practice, by multiplying such missions, or even by creating jobs, in order to accompany the promotion and dissemination of free software resources to all educational personnel”, said Rémi Boulle, April's vice-president in charge of education.
By the same logic, April wishes to see a project manager position reestablished within the Canopé network1.
A pioneer of Free Software in France since 1996, April is a major player in the democratisation of Free Software and open standards, and in their spread to the general public, professionals and institutions of the French-speaking world. In the digital era that is ours, it also aims to inform the public on the dangers of an exclusive appropriation of information and knowledge by private interests.
The organisation is a non-profit and it has over 4,000 members, who use or produce Free Software.
Frédéric Couchet, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org +33 6 60 68 89 31
- 1. According to the website of Canopé network, “Under the aegis of the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research, the Canopé network publishes transmediatic (print, digital, mobile, TV) pedagogical resources that meet the needs of the educational community. A major actor of the school reorganisation program, it combines innovation and pedagogy to bring schools into the digital age.”