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.
In last month's proceedings, Hon High Court passed an important order to
make appropriate changes in
School/College curriculum for academic year 2017-18 ( in view of
Notification dated 17 June 2014 which advises
states to adopt open source on priority)
Government has formed an experts committee for this implementation. The
report is expected
before 8 March 17. So next date is kept on 31 March 2017.
Another good news is that Prof Kannan of 'Spoken Tutorials' seems to be
one of the members in the committee. Prof Kannan,
being a strong supporter of open source, has been putting great
efforts to promote open source. He himself says that obsolete
curriculum is the biggest problem in ICT education. Also he has signed
our on line petition for Mandating Open Source. His work
will be meaningful if open source is effectively implemented through
Now we can definitely expect a report from the committee suggesting
mandatory adoption of Open Source in Education in
strong and clear words. Best wishes to Prof Kannan and his team.
Earlier, Mr Krishnakant Mane and DFF filed a similar PIL in order to
have a greater impact of the original petition. The two petitions will
now be joined (Probably on 31 March). Original petition is representing
students and teachers while Krishnakant is representing Visually
impaired students and students in rural areas in particular. Lots of
thanks to Krishnakant.
Hon High Court Order on 8 Dec : http://docdro.id/pM73elw
MHRD Notification which High Court Order refers : http://docdro.id/aPc7MSF