On 27 may 2016, Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher
Secondary Education has given a reply to my notice. Maharashtra State
Board was neglecting Open Source directives given by MHRD. Though the
Circular in this regard was issued, it was published in the education
booklet "Shikshan Sankraman" !. The circular as Important as this, which
could have saved huge amounts for Schools, must have been given to
Schools directly and it must have been given wide publicity in major
The Board's claim that by putting a note - "Schools and Colleges can use
Open Source Software" on index page, they have followed directions given
by MHRD is ridiculous. In the remaining pages of the reply, Board has
given photocopies copies of the changes they have made in 2016-17 text
books to be printed soon, and they have clarified further that Open
Source can be used in "Theory as well as in Practicals" which is very
Note that MHRD has used the word "PREFER" while Board is cleverly using
Anyway, I assume that this is only a symbolic exit of Microsoft from
State's Schools Education.
This covers State Schools and Junior Colleges in Maharashtra. But
University Education too is compelling degree colleges to use
proprietary software. Situation is somewhat better in Engineering
courses but in the courses such as Computer Applications (TYBcom), there
are softwares like MS Excel and Visual Basic. Also there are direct
questions in the examination on the commands used in Excel and VB. I am
going to send similar letter to Mumbai University too.
Also the course MS-ACIT has been made mandatory for teachers. This
course is exclusively an advertisement of Microsoft and other other
proprietary software. Since after removing proprietary software from
school. This course, which itself is a violation of MHRD notification,
becomes meaningless for teachers. Hence appropriate changes are
necessary in this course curriculum. We have to follow this matter in
I request all to help Schools in Maharashtra aware of the purpose and
significance of this change and make open source movement stronger.
Otherwise it will remain only on paper.
The supporter count has crossed 600 and a good news is that the last
date for giving inputs is extended up to 16th August by MHRD. Hope we
will reach a reasonable count. Let us tighten our belts for a stronger
Thanks all our members and special thanks to those who initiated it.
Forward from PLUG list.
Would like to draw your attention to a talk by Keerthanan Krishnan
The presentation provides current information about FOSS in Kerala;
they could be cited in the petition for inclusion of FOSS in the
-- Arun Khan
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amey Abhyankar <sco1984(a)gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 3:05 AM
Subject: [PLUG] DebConf16 video archive available
Video recording archive from Debian conference 2016 is now available
at = http://meetings-archive.debian.net/pub/debian-meetings/2016/debconf16/
Feel free to watch,download & share the sessions.
This was the 1st DebConf in African continent.
Any help is appreciated! :)
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: miniDebConfPune <minidebconfpune(a)openmailbox.org>
Date: Thu 23 Jun, 2016, 01:00
Subject: [Mini DebConf India] [Announce] Mini Debian Conference Pune 2016
We are pleased to announce *mini Debian Conference Pune on 30 and 31st
July, 2016. *
We are proud to be hosting it at *College of Engineering, Pune (CO**EP)**. *
COEP has a history of good FOSS contributors and with the upcoming
conference, we hope to add to its legacy.
It has also hosted a mini Debian Conference way back in 2010
and this year mini Debian Conference returns where it started, in Pune.
This is our second mini Debian Conference of the year. The first one
happened in Mumbai in January 2016 .
*Dates:* 30th & 31st July, 2016
*Venue*:College of Engineering Pune,
Wellesely Rd, Shivajinagar,
Pune-411 005. Maharashtra, INDIA.
Be a part of this mini Debian Conference Pune as a speaker by submitting a
We have started accepting proposals now.
*Call for proposals (CFPs) is on and will end by 23 July, 2016, 23:59:59
For submission guidelines and info on how to send your proposals please
refer to the website 
*We are looking for sponsors* to help us make this year's event a roaring
We have a great sponsorship proposal for Interested organizations looking
to sponsor the event.
Interested parties should contact us on 
We are also looking for volunteers who can look after tasks such as
designing posters, logos etc.
If you want to volunteer for any of the above mentioned tasks or even tasks
apart from them,
feel free to mail us on .
More details will soon be updated here on mailing list  as well as on
the website  and social media portals. .
Help us *spread the news* about mini Debian conference Pune by sharing this
mail on various other
mailing lists and social media portals. Also share the news with your
friends,family and colleagues.
We hope you all will *join us in celebrating a successful community* that
has grown in leaps and bounds since the operating system's initial
*Looking forward to see you all* at mini Debian Conference Pune.
On behalf of the Debian India community,
*Team miniDebConf Pune*
in.mini mailing list
47 Supporters so far. Thanks Nagarjuna for your comments and support.
I met Krisnakant today. He appreciated the petition drafted by Rushabh,
JT and others.
He has assured his active participation in this activity along with his
gnukhata team - Ishan, Navin, Abhijit, Sachin and Vinita.
We have decided to take small informal sessions in schools and colleges
for students/teachers to boost the activity. At the same time we will
try to get supporting letters from some well known schools and colleges
stating that these institutions themselves do not want proprietary
softwares and want to use FOSS. Letters will be sent to MHRD along with
petition & signatures. (I know few such institutions, krisnakant also
knows a few. He is going prepare a draft in couple of days. So we can
get it printed quickly on letter head after convincing them).
We know it is difficult to do all this in such a short amount of time
but let us try.
(Orators are welcome !)
PS : My Project on college/school management in FOSS is kept aside for a
couple of months.
National Education Policy 2016 :
" For the first time, the Government of India is embarking on a
time-bound grassroots consultative process, which will enable the
Ministry of HRD to reach out to individuals across the country through
over 2.75 lakh direct consultations while also taking input from
citizens online " - http://mhrd.gov.in/nep-new
We all know the benefits of FOSS and also the miserable state of FOSS in
our country. Needless to say that the root cause lies in ICT Education.
The draft, which is available for download, does not give any importance
to open source. It only refers it once or twice.
Please do send email to nep.edu(a)gov.in by 31st July 2016, in order that
Free and Open Source Software would play the central role in ICT Education.
Even a one-line email supporting FOSS in ICT Education will count.
Kindly share it on other Linux groups and other places.
Thanks and Regards
Rishabh, JT and Arun have already given important points,
In addition to that please consider the main line roughly as follows.
1] Use of FOSS or BOSS must be made mandatory for ICT Education or in
any activity in education.
(They are making sanskrit mandatory as per input draft)
Only recommendation or preference has not worked so far. Educational
Institutions can easily find loopholes.
2] A separate and independent body to ensure that it is implemented
3] Proper and effective platform for complaints regarding Violation of
Open Source Policy.
Also please let us know who is working on first draft of petition to
avoid duplication of work.
To be frank, I am not very good at drafting otherwise would have
prepared it. Please forgive.
I think we can upload the petition latest by 15 July so that sufficient
number of signatures can be obtained till 30th July..