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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<html>
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<head>
<title>Education - Argumentation</title>
<title>Why we need Free Software in Education</title>
</head>
<body>
<div align="center">
<h2>Why give precedence to Free Software at school?</h2>
<h2>Why we need Free Software in Education</h2>
</div>
<p>
Whether they like it or not, teachers make their pupils'
parents buy proprietary software if they use it at school.
By doing so, they contribute to a money-based selection even though
Free Software used at school can be brought home! Free Software
is republican software:
</p>
<ul>
<li>"Liberté": freedom to use, copy, modify, distribute, get
access to the source code. You can read more about Free Software's
essential freedoms on our page <a href="/freesoftware/freesoftware.html">
What is Free Software?</a>.
</li>
<li>"Égalité": equality between users, whatever school or family
means may be: with Free Software, a small poorly-funded school
has the same choice as a more affluent or prestigious one.
</li>
<li>"Fraternité": fraternity, cooperation and mutual aid between
developers and users, between users, between school and family.
</li>
</ul>
<p>
When appropriate, it is necessary to give students real computing
skills, not only proprietary software "directions for use". Consequently,
they should get unrestricted access to the source code, modify or
adapt it to their own needs, and thus improve the applications they use
or develop.
</p>
<p>
Free Software is particularly performing and secure for communication,
a priority at school for Internet access and E-mail... Free Software
allows remote servicing, a necessity for its deployment in large
schools. Free Software is impervious to current viruses.
</p>
<p>
School has to stay away from consumerism. School needs, and the means they
require, have to keep clear from fashion or software industry advertising.
Free Software gives increased perennity to hardware as it allows a longer
use of old (and cheap) hardware, particularly as terminals or "client"
computers. Free Software allows software perennity as there is no necessity
to buy the last software releases to obtain an (eventual) improvement.
Updates can be immediately developed (so you don't depend on an editor
goodwill) and shared with other users worldwide.
</p>
<p>
Knowledge is universal, Free Software too.
</p>
<p>
In Education, means are more limited than in other sectors, because they
have to be employed on a large scale. It's more relevant to pay grey
matter (e.g. help for projects conception, personal and educational training)
or extra devices than to pay proprietary licences.
</p>
<p>
The original version of this text was written by Jean Peyratout
</p>
</body>
<p>
In the FSFE we support that students should learn Free Software and educational institutes should use Free Software. Free Software in Education cultivates technological and collaborative skills. Here is why.
</p>
<h3>Free Software increases code literacy</h3>
<p>
Free Software is better than proprietary software at helping students understand technology and specifically coding. With Free Software, students can read the source code of a program and learn how it operates. Reading the source code satisfies a natural curiosity about how things work, and encourages learning. This is not possible with proprietary software.
</p>
<p>
For students who are self-taught programmers, access to the source is even more important. Writing good code requires reading a lot of code, which is only possible with Free Software. Using programs which hide their source code is sabotaging knowledge transfer and goes against the spirit of education. Aspiring developers cannot learn only from the programs they develop themselves, because they need access to collaborative software projects to encounter the required level of complexity to build their coding skills.
</p>
<h3>Teach skills, not products</h3>
<p>
Students should learn information technology concepts instead of only learning how to use products of proprietary software companies. Students should know how to use various Free Software programs for each program type, understand their differences, and choose what is best for them. Their knowledge should allow them to use Free Software if they want to. Digital literacy with a focus on Free Software will make students well-informed and not dependent on a specific service.
</p>
<p>
This point deserves careful attention in cases where schools use programs which will eventually have a price for the user. Schools should not be systematically teaching the use of programs that will not be available to the students after their graduation. Students have the right to learn programs that will be available to them in the long run. Students can also modify and share Free Software, adjusting it to their needs. On a large scale, a young competent generation which is familiar with Free Software can lead to a robust society independent of technological monopolies.
</p>
<h3>Free Software shows the value of cooperation</h3>
<p>
Educational institutions prepare students to become citizens with social responsibility. When educational institutions choose software, they should consider how it was made. Free Software development and distribution is a process that includes cooperation and the willingness to help others. Behind Free Software are people who consistently choose to offer a novel idea to the world, instead of hiding their idea in exchange for profit. With Free Software, students learn the value of working together for the common good.
</p>
</body>
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Computer science curricula should focus on information technology
concepts. Students should learn Free Software options for each
task to gain technological competence and autonomy. Training
students to use commercial products makes them dependent on
students to use proprietary products makes them dependent on
software companies. Educational institutes should refrain from
this practice.
</p>
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Free Software is the key to teaching students programming.
Students should be taught Free Software because this way they can
read the source code of a program and learn how it operates. This
is paramount for talented students who are self-taught
is paramount for students who are self-taught
programmers. Writing code requires reading a lot of code. Using
programs with hidden source code can sabotage learning, while
Free Software lets everyone see in the finest detail how a
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collect material introducing programming to childen by adding
information in our <a href="https://wiki.fsfe.org/Activities/ProgrammingForChildren">wiki</a>.
If you agree that students should learn Free Software and schools
should use Free Software, feel free to share this page. Support
should use Free Software, please share this page. Support
Free Software in Education for a future generation with better
programmers and better citizens.
</p>