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back to article Blighty's schools shake on new 3-year deal with Microsoft

The Department for Education claims a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Microsoft will save schools £10m on licensing over the next three years, in part by "factoring freeware" into the deal. The agreement began 1 January and runs until the end of 2015 giving schools across the UK the option to buy Microsoft …

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Linux

Feed the children Microsoft crack whilst young....

... and they stay hooked for life. :-(

I'm a Physics teacher in the UK and despair of the "All computers and Software are made by Microsoft" approach in FAR too many schools. OOo or Libre Office, Firefox, Chrome etc are all BANNED from being used in my school as 'dangerous' to the network'! Open Source is deemed as virus riddled insecure stuff and is all banned... although we use Java!!!

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FAIL

Re: Feed the children Microsoft crack whilst young....

I agree, teach them using Open Office and Linux, then when they hit the real world where 99% of businesses use MS Office they will be as useless at that, as many other things you teach them in school.

This Mr Teacher is what happens when people live in the academic world and not the business world, they live in a fantasy utopia that lives in the land of theory and ideal scenarios and not reality.

Don't worry happens at universities as well, if not more.

I'm happy for them to have a mix to open their eyes, but to exclude MS completely is just a stupid, stupid move.

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Anonymous Coward

"but to exclude MS completely is just a stupid, stupid move"

I agree, but don't see why the tax payer should pay MS here as it is, in effect, a free advert and product promotion.

Hell, it might be the case that if enough big gov users have Linux as an OS of choice but are open to MS they would offer Office for it. That would benefit everyone really.

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Megaphone

Re: Feed the children Microsoft crack whilst young....

"I agree, teach them using Open Office and Linux, then when they hit the real world where 99% of businesses use MS Office they will be as useless at that, as many other things you teach them in school."

Yeah or we could just carry on churning out MS Office drones who know dick about actual computing. I suggest you get back to the mid 90's where you belong. The Microsoft Office "era" is over, if our kids need MS Office skills then offer it as a side subject (as we used to with typing) and get this useless shit off the main curriculum for good.

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Re: Feed the children Microsoft crack whilst young....

The problem is, by the time you've gone through GCSE's, A levels and university, the latest version of Office that is going to be used in the real world is likely to be as different to the one you learnt as OpenOffice or anything else is. Add to this the "parrot-style" tuition that often passes for computer literacy these days, and very few kids have the skills to use a word processor or a spreadsheet - instead they have a qualification for Word 20xx and Excel 20yy.

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Meh

Re: Feed the children Microsoft crack whilst young....

Since they only did this to troll Eadon, I'd call it a roaring success.

Also, there's support bundled. It's probably just as expensive to go FOSS when you count in support and maybe more so when you consider retraining all those part-time school admins/maths teachers, who frankly have better things to do anyway.

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Re: Feed the children Microsoft crack whilst young....

MS has it's place but the market has moved on to "Smart Devices" most of these do not use MS Office my kids can use Polaris Office equally well as they can use MS Office. I say stop teaching kids how to use MS Products and teach them about Computing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Feed the children Microsoft crack whilst young....

Force-feed the children Microsoft crack whilst young....

There... fixed that for you. O:-)

It's not like there's any choice. It is, of course, ILLEGAL to neglect to indoctrinate "educate" your children... and you're hardly going to find a school/curriculum which doesn't impose a strictly enforced Microsoft indoctrination regimen onto its subjects... so other than chuck-in your career to inflict some third rate hippy DIY "home schooling" on your progeny, there doesn't appear to be any parental say/choice/dissent permitted whatsoever.

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Sounds like a good deal??

"... more cost effective choices that include "using alternative and free to use software".

I know people who have 'free to use' software that they obtained from 'alternative' sources. Is this a similar thing?

"there is no obligation to buy stuff from the Redmond software giant though, and under the terms of the deal they will not be penalised for using an alternative."

Some negotiating genius managed to get Microsoft to allow schools to use non-Microsoft products without paying a penalty to Microsoft? Just like I persuaded Ford to sell me a car and not pay a penalty if I fitted it with some cheap Vauxhall car mats?

Do Microsoft routinely impose these sorts of conditions on bulk-buy customers, because it sounds like they do.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sounds like a good deal??

Yup.

You didn't think that the "OEM" sector was the only market they'd infected with this shit?

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Anonymous Coward

Evil fuckwits

Flushing a generation of our children's IT educations down the bog for the sake of a fat backhander.

Who the hell's supposed to care if you got a GCSE in clicking on buttons in some shite propitiatory office app which was superseded ten years ago and has since been pissed about beyond recognition?

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Re: Evil fuckwits

Try reading the article, they've made a deal to allow them to use FOSS software without extracting a penalty in the terms, i.e. prices stay low even if they use Open Office rather than Microsoft Office, where usually they would only get a discount if they guaranteed to buy both....

I suspect this is a good deal they have, that gives them a good discount on standard prices!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Evil fuckwits

Try reading the article, they've made a deal to allow them to use FOSS software without extracting a penalty in the terms, i.e. prices stay low even if they use Open Office rather than Microsoft Office, where usually they would only get a discount if they guaranteed to buy both....

Some derisory token "deal" to (on paper) end a sinister and probably unlawful monopoly is hardly worth getting excited about, is it? It's not like they've announced the actual introduction of some IT or other such heresy into the national indoctrination curriculum.

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Re: Evil fuckwits

"to allow them to use FOSS software"

The article says "freeware". That may or may not be F/OSS.

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I know how

"said Education Secretary Michael Gove, who didn't say how much nor how the government reached the £10m figure."

Same as all Government finances.

1. Write the headline figure

2. ?

3. Announce

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If I read that right , it Sounds like an actual win for the gov for a change, no penalties if they use free software, i.e. open source!

I understand why schools teach MS windows & office, its because of its prevalence in industry...

BUT if we start teaching kids about linux & Open/Libre Office now, then in 5-6 years time we will have a mass of Linux savvy kids and THAT would cut the costs of training for businesses wanting to use FOSS software.. and saving British Industry money!

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WTF?

"Not be penalised"

By Microsoft for not buying from Microsoft?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Not be penalised"

I think it would usually go like this:

If you buy all your stuff from me, I'll give you a discount, if you buy some of your stuff from my rival, I won't.

Bearing this in mind, the government have had a bit of a win here by getting a discount from a supplier and still being free to use the supplier's rivals.

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Re: "Not be penalised"

"the government have had a bit of a win here ..."

But no-ones saying how much the school budget will be paying MS in return foeer this £10million "saving", or how much of MS's UK profits will be shipped to a tax-haven.

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Re: "Not be penalised"

MS Agreements can not prevent you from using freeware, they are hoping given the choice no one will use Open Source...they know the easy route is the most commonly chosen...then when the School system exceeds the agreed upon numbers of products they can come in, audit and demand payments for these infringing licenses to match the rest of the agreed contract.

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WTF?

Should be free

If Microsoft want all kids brain-washed into thinking theirs is the only software then they should be providing it free to schools.

Also, if schools already have a version of Office, why do they need to upgrade?

My 8 year old son was set homework he had to do on Powerpoint the other day - ridiculous.

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Re: Should be free

I agree with that, and if my son is ever sent home work that he has to do using a specific piece of software, my next phone call will be to the school to ask them to supply the hardware and software to do so!

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Re: Should be free

Or they should provide free copies to students expected to present work using their damned software.

Libre Office isn't accepted at our boys' school for some stuff.

Even worse, though, they're being taught their AS/A2 ICT-computing or whatever it's called this week.. with VISUAL BASIC ...

FFS.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Should be free

in fact, parental purchases of microsoft products is probably the benefit of this deal to microsoft.

michael gove triumphs again, leading the country into the future

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Stop

Re: Should be free

And what is exactly wrong with Visual Basic?

I learn't to program using BBC BASIC and Then later Java before I moved onto VB.NET and C#. I've mucked about with Python, Ruby, Perl and a bit of C.

While I agree VB has some syntactical problems and oddities it has you can still practice all the basic concepts which are transferrable to any langauge.

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Re: Should be free

The pupils probably are entitiled to a MS Office license to use at home, Microsoft licenses for students means that the licenses which the schools buy for use in the school can (under the right circumstances) also be extended to the students using the software outside of the school too

Check out student licencing here:

http://www.microsoft.com/uk/education/schools/software-licensing/types-of-educational-licence/SESP-agreement/default.aspx

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Re: Should be free

Libre office won't do much of what your child will need to know. Not using MS Office in school is like teaching kids Esparanto as a second language.

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Re: Should be free

So what you saying is why learn English as Spanish is the most spoken language across the world. We should only learn Spanish then. Let me also point out that the more common used operating system is not Windows but Linux in our new Kids world. These are all Linux Based (OSx, Android, Ubuntu). Yes I even have clients who use no MS products in there entire business, only Linux and products like Open Office.

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£10 million over 3 years...

....is surely a piss in the ocean. Thats just £3.3 a year. I don't know how many schools there are but it sounds like peanuts per school. Sounds to me like they'd save just as much if they used cheaper Biros.

Gove is a complete twat.

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Linux

Re: £10 million over 3 years...

I don't normally answer my own posts but I couldn't resist.

assuming the following sources are true then the number of schools in England is

Primary : 16,971 ( http://tinyurl.com/reg-prim )

Secondary: 3,127 ( http://tinyurl.com/reg-sec )

Giving you 20,098 schools. Now take your £10m and divide it and you get £497.56 per school over the 3 years or £165.85 per year per school.

Well done, all those schools are going to be able to really enhance their educational experiences with that!

I know that is probably a slightly simplistic approach but its probably not far off the truth.

(Penguin Icon: we need to get open source into education if only to prove there is more than one way to solve a problem)

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Linux

Re: £10 million over 3 years...

I can save that clown 10 Million.

See icon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: £10 million over 3 years...

@ g e

No, you'd save that clown (and schools/taxpayers) hundreds of millions.

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Re: Kids taught to use Windows, which is inferior proprietary software

I could not agree more.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Kids taught to use Windows, which is inferior proprietary software

My son's school used to do everything based on Office but when younger son started 4 years later they'd ditched all that ... everything is based on Google docs now - I'm not convinced its an improvement!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Kids taught to use Windows, which is inferior proprietary software

@Eadon - The vast majority of ICT teaching in schools is not teaching computing, programming or computer science, it's teaching the use of computers and other associated communications technologies with a specific slant towards what's needed in the workplace. They are certainly not being taught about Operating Systems, rather conceptually about how a desktop works and how the software that they're likely to use in business is operated, this can be done on Apple, MS, Linux, whatever. The main issue is that pretty much every company in the country uses MS office, so the schools can either send kids into the workplace with the skills required in the package that they will need to use, or then can give them an education which won't leave them as well prepared for work. Until businesses change their practices, schools are probably doing the right thing here, in my opinion.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Re: Kids taught to use Windows, which is inferior proprietary software

Except I know a lot of confessed Linux users that didn't understand the difference between basic computer concepts such as "ROM vs RAM" and why a modern operating system expects a swap file.

Using Linux doesn't magically teach you the underlying principle of how a computer works, which hasn't really changed since I was mucking about on a hand me down BBC Micro in the early 90s.

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Re: Kids taught to use Windows, which is inferior proprietary software

Last time I checked, the "computer" on a Raspberry Pi was encased in a square of plastic about the size of a postage stamp and completely hidden from view. Not that I would be able to see how it works without a decent microscope anyway!

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Anonymous Coward

Ohhh Baby [Was: Re: Kids taught to use Windows, which is inferior proprietary software]

"The government should put a stop to schools training kids to be MS mouse-pushers and teach them real computing - a proper operating system (POSIX) and one that is open source. (Linux / BSD etc)."

Eadon... Linux and BSD? You said, "BSD" Eadon... "BSD"!! Gawd, you're so sexy when you talk like that! ;)

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alternatives

I see that they won't be penalised for using alternative software such as open-source.

oh how generous of MS to allow that. why not make every parent or guardian buy a lifetime Windows licence at the same time.

the old argument about teaching kids with Windows and Office because that's what used in 'the real world' is starting to wear thin methinks. yes of course MS still have the market share but you know for the small er business the alternatives are looking really good at the moment.

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Re: alternatives

@Chris - The thing is that MS Office is what's used in the vast majority of companies.

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Meh

Re: alternatives

Oh No! Companies use computers not supplied by RM- our kids are doomed.

"What is the matter Miss Smith?" "Sorry sir, I can't send you that spreadsheet, the computers at school had grey keyboards, but the Company ones are black - I can't use them..."

Really...

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Anonymous Coward

I work in schools, and the quantity of software that cannot be replicated with free/open source is colossal...

Its very easy to say use a Linux based teaching alternative, but the truth is the teachers have enough issues controlling the kids and using Microsoft, let alone having to cope with totally alien software and operating systems.

We trailed the use of OO and found it a pain to deploy consistently, We use OSX on some machines, but they are now gathering dust as the staff are having issues coming to grips with the change (yes, we have tried training, but we cant afford to pay overtime to train the staff with more than the rudimentary skills to operate the machines and getting supply in to train staff during school hours is still expensive and counter productive to the students education.)

Our cheap to run MFC's lack proper Linux support, they even run in a limited capacity on the OSX machines, 90% of our educational software is windows only, we have some cross platform stuff, but non MS tends to be a revision or more behind the windows equivalent. - as a comparison, imagine the ios app store is the current crop of teaching resources for windows... how would you feel if your child's education was then downgraded to use less than the availibity on windows phone marketplace...

Office is not the only software used in school...

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Anonymous Coward

Afternoon RICHTO

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 10:41

Come on, they can't be RICHTO as they have not claimed that FOSS is much more vulnerable then Windows!

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