By EDRi

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Dutch schools are progressively locking out students from online
environments due to the use of proprietary web-technology
(Silverlight) and closed standards. This contravenes with the 2007
Netherlands Open in Connection policy framework that mandates the use
of open standards for all public sector organizations, including
educational institutions. In responding to questions by the Parliament
about this situation, the minister of Education, Marja van
Bijsterveldt, stated she was unwilling to force educational
institutions to comply with the official open standards policy.

The Dutch open standards policy framework calls for a mandatory use of
open standards in all public sector organizations (via comply or
explain). The ministry of education should have begun taking steps to
implement it four years ago. However, open standards have not become
an integral part of educational IT-procurement and thus are not
considered when purchasing, renewing or upgrading (educational)
IT-services, software and digital learning materials. The negligent
attitude of the ministry of education resulted in an increasing
vendor-lock, effectively locking out substantial and growing numbers
of students.

Through the “Unlocking education, for growth without limits” campaign,
Dutch activists are pushing for a more robust implementation of
the open standards policy, by making the use of open standards
mandatory for all publicly-funded institutions. The campaign is
supported by a various range of Dutch organizations (NLLGG, NLUUG, LPI
Netherlands, HCC!, ISOC.nl, Free Knowledge Institute and the Dutch
Pirate Party), the Free Software Foundation Europe and over 900
individuals who signed the petition. Arjan el Fassed, MP for the
Green party (GroenLinks), expressed dissatisfaction with the minister
of Education’s answers. The next round of parliamentary questions is
being prepared in collaboration with the activists.

FSFE campaign page – Unlocking education, for growth without limits
http://fsfe.org/campaigns/nledu/nledu.en.html

The lack of open standards in secondary education (only in Dutch, 5.10.2011)
http://www.ikregeer.nl/documenten/kv-132148

Answer to Parliamentary questions about the lack of open standards in
secondary education (only in Dutch, 28.10.2011)
http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/bestanden/documenten-en-publicaties/kamerstukken/2011/10/28/beantwoording-kamervragen-gebrek-open-standaarden-voortgezet-onderwijs/beantwoording-kamervragen-gebrek-open-standaarden-voortgezet-onderwijs.pdf

Dutch government hands over education’s keys to Microsoft (7.11.2011)
http://fsfe.org/news/2011/news-20111107-01.en.html

Dutch petition (only in Dutch, 27.09.2011)
http://www.janstedehouder.nl/2011/09/27/petitie-weg-met-het-overgewicht-in-nederlandse-onderwijs-ict/

International petition (28.09.2011)
http://www.janstedehouder.nl/2011/09/28/make-the-use-of-open-standards-in-education-mandatory/

(contribution from Jan Stedehouder – EDRi-member Vrijschrift – Netherlands)