It is great to hear that at least one Open Source company has now made it onto Becta’s official list of suppliers to the UK education sector.
As usual it’s all about money. The Open Source community has always advocated that schools in the UK adopted Free Open Source Software (FOSS) on the grounds that there were considerable cost savings to be had which would directly benefit schools and the taxpayer alike.
As long ago as 2005 a report from Becta strongly supported this assertion. However this was a time when huge amounts of a cash-rich Government’s money were being poured into developing school ICT and value for money was not really on the agenda. As a result the incumbent proprietary vendors enjoyed a feeding frenzy and Open Source solutions were ignored. Indeed it was impossible, despite persistent lobbying, to get an Open Source company on the official school suppliers list. As I said, how times change. If we revisit school’s ICT finances 2008 we see a different picture.
As Becta suggested two years ago, the current UK ICT structure requires a level of funding which is unsustainable, adopting Free Open Source Software could directly benefit schools and tax payers alike.