Hi Ravi,

Sorry for the late reply. I have emailed to GNU about publishing the statement on their webpage. Let's hope that they accept, and then we would be able to provide a link to that page. Till then, how about including the statement as a part of the article but including it at the end of the article? Or if it is possible, can FSF India publish it under use cases on their webpage? I am new to this ecosystem so I am not sure how it works usually. 

I am also going through the corrected draft. I think suggestions from RMS are helpful as always and you have done a great job writing and modifying the article. Perhaps it would be helpful to hold another meeting to discuss the corrected version after the deadline of 8th March.

Thanks and regards,
 Snehal M Shekatkar
Pune, India

Mar 1, 2021, 13:20 by ravi@anche.no:
I have following questions/suggestions on the draft:

1. In the line, "Many instructors [require students to install proprietary monitoring software in their own devices]<https://www.thehindu.com/education/ground-zero-gre-and-the-network-of-aspirants-ghostwriters-and-coaching-institutes/article33532981.ece> which is a very unjust practice in itself." ,
the URL does not serve as a good reference because-
a. that URL says that the monitoring software is used in GRE exams when participants take the test from home and not exactly for a course exam in an institute;
b. it is focused on a different issue-- fraudulent methods are being used in GRE exams for marks.

Therefore, I have not mentioned this reference and only wrote about the dangers of using proctoring software and that it is an injustice.

2. Snehal's head of department's statement that they use only free software in their department can be a different page rather than including in this article because shortening of the statement would lose some points. Let others see what software they use for different purposes. And then, at the starting summary of this article, we can say something like "Department of Scientific Computing, Modeling, and Simulation, Savitribai Phule Pune University uses exclusively free software for education <URL to Snehal's Department statement>. "
I think Snehal can also send the statement to GNU to be published here <https://www.gnu.org/education/edu-cases-india.html#content>.

3. It is a common practice among educational institutes to host their mail servers on Google or Outlook. Should we add the dangers of this practice in the draft? Where should we add it? And, what suggestions can we give for emails?
<https://www.gnu.org/software/free-software-for-education.html> suggests Kolab for emails. Should we add that? I don't know anything about Kolab, so I did not add that.

Pad link: <https://pad.disroot.org/p/educationfreesoftware>. Any comments/suggestions are welcome.

I have incorporated the comments and so the draft now looks like:

Title: Educational Institutes should use exclusively freedom-respecting software

We urge educational institutes and webinars to stop requiring students to use proprietary software, and to adopt free/swatantra software (free as in freedom), which is [readily available]<https://www.gnu.org/software/free-software-for-education.html>. [Remote education does not require giving up rights to freedom and privacy] <https://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/remote-education-does-not-require-giving-up-rights-to-freedom-and-privacy>. Department of Scientific Computing, Modeling, and Simulation, Savitribai Phule Pune University uses exclusively free software for education <URL to Snehal's Department statement>.

A speech by Richard Stallman on why schools should use exclusively free software can be watched and downloaded from [here] <https://audio-video.gnu.org/video/richard_stallman_speech-sina.com-2005-09.ogg>.

What is free/swatantra software?
Free/Swatantra software means that you, as a user, have four essential freedoms: (0) to run the program as you wish, (1) to study and change the source code so it does what you wish, (2) to redistribute exact copies, and (3) to redistribute copies of your modified versions. (See the [free software definition]<https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html>.) With these freedoms, the users (both individually and collectively) control the program and what it does for them. When users don't control the program, we call it a “nonfree” or “proprietary” program. Proprietary software is an injustice to the user because it puts its developer or owner in a position of power over its users <https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-even-more-important.html>. Proprietary Software is often malware <https://www.gnu.org/proprietary/proprietary.html>. For example, nowadays, all the major proprietary operating systems for the general public [spy on the users]<https://www.gnu.org/proprietary/proprietary-surveillance.html>.

Why should educational institutes use free software?

Any computer user should use free software for their own freedom but educational institutes have [additional reasons to insist only on free software]<https://www.gnu.org/education/edu-schools.html>.

Some reasons are listed below:

* Software should be free <https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/shouldbefree.html>.

* Proprietary Software Is Often Malware <https://www.gnu.org/proprietary/proprietary.html>

* Educational Institutes have a moral responsibility to respect students' freedom and teach students to appreciate it -- for their own future and their country's future.

* Educational institutes often expose students to privacy-invading technology without any real choice to escape from it <https://www.eff.org/wp/school-issued-devices-and-student-privacy>. Educational institutes should respect students' privacy. Free Software is controlled by its users and therefore it can protect them from surveillance.

* Students cannot learn from proprietary software because it is a secret, and it prohibits learning as well as sharing while free software encourages learning and sharing which align with the mission of the schools.

* Proprietary software makes the institute dependent on the owner of the software, while free software makes it independent.

Remote education
In the pandemic time, we saw educational institutes switching to online mode for teaching. Unfortunately, a lot of them have chosen proprietary software to do the job. Many instructors and administrators have chosen [malicious non-free videoconferencing software]<https://fsf.org.in/article/better-than-zoom/> such as Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams for teaching. We urge teachers to help their students in [resisting against proprietary videoconferencing platforms] <https://www.gnu.org/education/teachers-help-students-resist-zoom.html>. A lot of times, students are asked to join a WhatsApp group for important announcements which is an injustice to the student because WhatsApp is a nonfree program and it does not respect user's privacy. We suggest institutes to use

Schools are now [invading student's privacy] through cheating-detection systems. Requiring students to install a monitoring software in their own computers is an injustice. Monitoring software, by design, runs even when the owner of the computer tries to stop it from running long after the exam is finished and takes full control of the computer which subjects users to abuse <https://twtext.com/article/1252225044861693954>. We urge the institutes to take the exam on the institute's computers.

Free Software Recommendations

Here are some free software replacements that can used in education:

Operating system: GNU/Linux distros <https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-distros.html>

Online Classes- Jitsi, BigBlueButton. Check [this] <https://fsf.org.in/article/better-than-zoom/> for more details.

Instant Messenger- Element, Quicksy or Conversations. Check [this] <https://fsf.org.in/article/better-than-whatsapp/> for more details.

Uploading videos- [PeerTube] <https://directory.fsf.org/wiki/PeerTube>, GNU MediaGoblin<https://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Mediagoblin>.

E-learning platforms- [Moodle] <https://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Moodle>.

Recording Lectures- [OBS]<https://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Obs-studio>

Sharing notes, lecture videos etc. - [Nextcloud]<https://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Nextcloud>, Lufi<upload.disroot.org>

Digital writing pad- Xournal <https://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Xournal>

Recording lectures- [Open Broadcaster Software] <https://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Obs-studio>.

Email- Institutes can self host their own server

The GNU website lists free software that can be used in schools and educational institutions of all levels <https://www.gnu.org/software/free-software-for-education.html>. The Free Software Foundation keeps a comprehensive database of educational software at the Free Software Directory <https://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Category/Education>.

Freeduc-USB <https://usb.freeduc.org/index-en.html> is a bootable USB stick that contains useful applications for the classroom.

When an educational institute provides laptops to students, they should choose laptops which can run fully free software-- check [RYF laptops by FSF]<https://ryf.fsf.org/products?category=1&vendor=All&sort_by=created&sort_order=DESC> and [LibreTech] <https://libretech.shop/>. For other hardware which can run fully free software, check <https://h-node.org/>.

Educational resources should be 'free' as in freedom

In today's age, free sharing of scientific knowledge has become the [worst conceivable crime] <https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/how-did-the-free-sharing-of-scientific-knowledge-and-culture-become-the-worst-crime-our-justice-systems-could-think-of/> one can think of. Scientific journals like Elsevier lock up academic research behind paywalls and prohibit sharing with others. Since, the academic research is funded by public money, it should be available free or cost as well as free in freedom. For arguments on how the principles of software freedom apply to academic papers, please check [this essay]<https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/push-copyright-aside.html>. Educational resources-- like videos, recorded lectures, academic papers [should be released under free/swatantra licenses only]<https://www.stallman.org/articles/online-education.html>. The GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) <https://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl.html> is a free license that can be used for educational works. Creative Commons has two free licenses: CC-BY and CC-BY-SA for this purpose. If you release your academic papers under a free license, it will give everyone an opportunity to learn from you. Some Free Learning Resources are mentioned [here] <https://www.gnu.org/education/edu-free-learning-resources.html>

Free Software adoption in Indian education

IT syllabus of class XI in Maharashtra now includes free software <https://fsf.org.in/news/mh-schools-floss/>.
The state of Kerala migrated more than 2,600 public schools to free software <https://www.itschool.gov.in/>. In fact, Kerala is the only state in the world where IT education is imparted over a Free software operating system <https://www.academia.edu/10236947/IT_at_SCHOOL_PROJECT_OF_KERALA_A_LANDMARK_IN_ICT_INITIATIVE_IN_GENERAL_EDUCATION> .

A free software named Tux Paint <http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/TuxPaint> used at VHSS Irimpanam school, Kerala, where 11 and 12 years old students exercised the freedom to learn how the program works and modify the program, which demonstrates that even non programmers or children, can actually influence and improve information technology when software freedom is granted <https://www.gnu.org/education/edu-software-tuxpaint.html>. School-age children were able to effectively and quickly exercise software freedom with Tux Paint in the PC-in-the-Village Experiment, Goa <http://www.digitalequalizer.org/kids.htm>

Some of the educational institutions in India who are using exclusively Free Software:

* Ambedkar Community Computing Center (AC3) <https://www.gnu.org/education/edu-cases-india-ambedkar.html>

* Vocational Higher Secondary School Irimpanam (VHSS Irimpanam) <https://www.gnu.org/education/edu-cases-india-irimpanam.html>

* Department of Scientific Computing, Modeling, and Simulation, Savitribai Phule Pune University --- To add the department's head statement on their use of free software <URL to Snehal's Department statement>.

If you know of other institutes which use free software, please let us know, we would like to add them in this list. If you need help in switching your institute to free software, feel free to contact us, we would be very glad to help you.

Some Related Links:
1. Sign Free Software Foundation's petition to call on school administrators around the world to stop requiring students to run nonfree software <https://my.fsf.org/give-students-userfreedom>

2. Free software enables free science <https://media.libreplanet.org/u/libreplanet/m/free-software-enables-free-science/>

3. Guri- a project for free software in education <https://guri.hipatia.net/>

4. Ways in which technology used in education puts students under surveillance <https://ssd.eff.org/en/module/privacy-students>

5. Schools are deploying massive surveillance on their students as if they are dissidents of an authoritarian regime <https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/02/schools-are-pushing-boundaries-surveillance-technologies>

6. Don’t Let Science Publisher Elsevier Hold Knowledge for Ransom <https://www.eff.org/id/deeplinks/2019/10/dont-let-science-publisher-elsevier-hold-knowledge-ransom>


Ravi Dwivedi
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