French education inspectors convened at Microsoft's headquarters

Paris, Tuesday 22 November 2011, press release.

During the 2011 Éducatec-Éducatice education forum1, the French education inspectors in charge of new technologies, who act as advisors to the regional Education Ministry representatives ["inspecteurs d'académie"] will have their annual meeting. This year, the central administration of the Education Ministry directly convened them at the headquarters of Microsoft in Issy-les-Moulineaux. April and Framasoft deeply regret that Free Software and Free resources are left aside from the entire program of these days.

Over a hundred of such inspectors in charge of new technologies are invited at a meeting dedicated on Microsoft's technologies at Microsoft's headquarters on Tuesday 22nd, eve of the beginning of the forum2.

Extract of the programExtract of an inspector's invitation

The events will continue on until November 24 at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre, following a pre-established program that appears to focus mainly on proprietary technologies.

Like many teachers, we believe that having these inspectors convened at Microsoft's headquarters is a blatant breach of the neutrality required from the teaching system3. We believe this to be incompatible with the missions and the values of the teaching institution and of the teachers. It is also contrary to their culture of diversity, of plurality, of sharing and appropriation of knowledge by all. "These inspectors are entitled to receive training that meets the academic neutrality and the technological pluralism. In 2011, it is difficult to ignore the many contributions that Free Software has brought to education" says Rémi Boulle, vice-president of April, in charge of the Education Working Group.

According to the programme, a round-table will aim at identifying major trends and needs that are appearing in the realms of the educational uses and of digital resources. We hope that many references will be made to Free resources; and we also hope that the idea of encouraging the sharing under Free licenses and of preserving teaching from mercantile matters will be discussed.

Let us underline that since long time the Free Software community is committed to the Ministry of Education and alongside teachers towards equal opportunities, the right to access the latest technologies and the reduction of the digital divide.

Many associations and companies develop Free Software and resources for teaching. These include, for primary school GCompris, the products from companies such as Ryxéo or DotRiver, the Terrier software developed by teachers for teachers, FrenchKISS, OpenOffice4kids, the exercise server WIMS, Edubuntu...

These solutions are long-lived and have a wide base of users in French schools. Free Software provide quality alternatives at a lesser cost, while maintaining technological pluralism. Moreover, it promotes local employment.

Let us not that the Ministry itself provides teachers with the SIALLE service4, a source of information on the educational Free Software that is available. The Ministry is also involved in the national project EOLE5. Finally, a framework agreement6 was signed by the Ministry of Education for the use of Free software and resources in the area of education. Still, their importance continues to be minimized by some players.

In the interest of teachers and students, it would have been essential that the program of this course include at least a dedicated slot for Free software and resources. It is even less understandable that the forum puts forward the Sankoré program (an international ecosystem, both public and private, that produces Free digital educational resources) that concerns primary teachers.

We are at the inspectors disposal for any further information on Free software and resources for education, and we wish them an interesting Éducatec-Éducatice forum.

About April

Pioneer of free software in France, April is since 1996 a major player in the democratisation and the spread of Free Software and open standards to the general public, professionals and institutions in the French-speaking world. In the digital era that is ours, it also aims to inform the public on the dangers of an exclusive appropriation ofinformation an knowledge by private interests.
The association has over 5,500 members, using or producing Free Software.
For more information, you may go to the following website:, contact us by phone at +33 178 769 280 or through our contact form.
Press contacts:
Frédéric Couchet, Executive Director, +33 660 688 931

Jeanne Tadeusz, Public Affairs Officer, +33 1 78 76 92 82