|GANDHINAGAR: The Gujarat government is all set to follow Kerala’s Marxist-led Left-Democratic Front (LDF) in IT education in schools. Following Kerala schools, it has decided to use only Linux operating system, the open-source free software, in the computers installed in 3,650 schools.
Linux will also be installed in another state-run 2,750 schools, where computers will be installed this year. Freely downloadable, Linux is internationally regarded as alternative to Microsoft Windows.
“If the experiment in schools is successful, we will go ahead and do it for computers in Sachivalaya, too”, a top IT aide to chief minister Narendra Modi said, adding, “Installation of Microsoft Windows software on each computer costs Rs 5,000. With Linux, we will save huge sums.”
Though there was initial resistance to it in Gujarat’s top powerdom, the big cost of maintaining massive Windows-based infrastructure became the main reason for abandoning Windows solutions and moving to Linux applications.
It is estimated that the state government will be saving close to Rs 100 crore by installing Linux in schools. Call it anti-MNC Marxist bias, but in Kerala schools even mandatory IT tests are held in Linux.
Before opting for Linux, the state education department officials are learnt to have held tough negotiations for installing Microsoft Windows operating system. On an average, each school has 11 computers and one LCD screen to give computer training to children.
“If it the Microsoft Windows costs Rs 5,000 in market, negotiations helped us to bring down the price to Rs 3,000 per computers. But after intense discussions involving IT experts it was decided to do away with Microsoft Windows and go for Linux”, the Modi aide said.
State education secretary Hasmukh Adhia told TOI that computer teachers in government schools are still not fully accustomed to Linux, but the state government has begun training them in batches.
The National Institute for Information Technology (NIIT) and Educamp are carrying out training in phases. “It does not require more than two days to teach computer teachers how to use Linux, as it is easy to download and use to work on computers”, Adhia said.