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Education dept eyes stronger free software policy

By   |  April 19, 2007

South Africa’s education department may re-look at its policies regarding free and open source software and pursue a stronger open source strategy in light of the government’s free software strategy adopted in February this year.

This is according to Department of Education director-general Duncan Hindle, who was speaking at the Digital Freedom Expo at the University of the Western Cape this morning.

“In education we have software guidelines but not yet a policy decision. In light of the national [free and open source software] policy we may have to re-look at our guidelines and probably take a slightly stronger position on this,” said Hindle.

Hindle said that the department currently has an agreement with Microsoft to provide software for schools but that the department was “aware of the dangers of vendor lock-in”.

He told Tectonic that the department would be looking at the issue of free software in schools but that the existing reliance on Microsoft products was not likely change immediately. He said he believed Microsoft products were still a de-facto standard in industry and that it remained useful to teach learners how to use the software.

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