Last week while I was at LSF I got the opportunity to have a chat with Bikku Mettavihari, monk that has contributed lot to the Sri Lankans in promoting and advocating the use free software and has played an active role in all or most of the free and opensource software related workshops that I have attended during the past couple of years.
During the conversation I got to know that the agreement(MoU) that had with Microsoft Corporation and the Sri Lankan Ministry of Education, on providing the necessary ICT related education to our government schools has now ended 🙂 . That was one good news for me to hear because according to what I believe the schools children should have the freedom to access to information technology related materials with zero cost, and we should not use software that costs thousands when there are enough of materials that are available for free. Well in one point it’s totally waste of money and that money can be used for providing more resources or expand the reach to a wider community.
I think this is a golden opportunity that we have in our hand to introduce GNU/Linux based software to our schools children. We can make use of a distribution like Edubuntu as the base operating system because it has a good support for hardware devices as well. Using them in teaching to students will benefit the child as well as the country. For example if the student gets an ideas of adding new features, looking into the source code of the system, learn how things have implemented, etc the free and opensource software gives the child the full freedom to do all of this. So why not we give this freedom to our future generation. To my knowledge there are lots of countries in the world make use of free and opensource software in their education systems and they have achieved success. The One Laptop per Child project is a good example for it.