Saturday, 10 June 2006

Open source in School - it is up the the director!

via Couros Blog

Peter Rock, a teacher in a West African school, attempts to bring open source software/philosophy into his school context have been abruptly blocked by his administration.

From Peter's Director's point of view, a committee's (whose members are hand-picked by the Director) unanimous recommendation is just a recommendation and can be revoked at ease. Unfortunately, the Director also adapted a personal attack tactics:
You have expressed strong opinions against Microsoft, obvious from comments made by teachers and students, statements posted on your classroom door, etc. In accordance with Personnel Section 5.032 e) Code of Professional Ethics, "All staff should refrain from proselytizing for a personal, political, or religious belief." Therefore, you need to refrain from placing undue focus on your personal beliefs concerning the philosophy and practice of Microsoft.

and misquoted the offending act which is a poster on Peter's classroom door:
The best reason to give a child a good so that a child will have a happy childhood, and not so that it will help IBM in competing with SONY... There is something ethically embarrassing about resting a national agenda on the basis of sheer greed.

Hey, Microsoft is NOT mentioned in the quote!

Mignon McLaughlin of Around the Corner has written a supportive post:
This is Peter's moment to resist authority. More importantly, it will be a time to measure the committee's acquisition of the capacity to resist authority. The consequences are hurtful, but they are nothing when one is committed to the good of all, to ensuring the survival of the organization and the people who make it up. Simply, Peter must decide now if he is willing to be martyred for the decision of the group he led for two years, or if he's going to capitulate. Fighting to lose means accepting defeat, that the stick will be used. Yet, it's the only way to achieve victory in the hearts of the people who have placed their trust in him.

Personally, I believe that one must be in there in order to change "there". The Director has drawn out the ACE card and hence was quite determined to reject the committee's proposal. The Director's credibility will be at sake ONLY if Peter can demonstrate that the Director's decision is not made with good intention for the organisation. It is not about flighting based on personal belief. It is about efficiency and best decision for kids in the future. Again, future is future and we don't know the outcome yet.

No comments: