Bonum Certa Men Certa

Call to Abolish BECTA, Which Appoints Microsoft Children's Parent

Abacus



Summary: British school education comes under increased pressure to open up to choices other than Microsoft

IN OUR many writings about British schools, we have shown that not everything was well at BECTA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. That's an understatement really. It is reassuring to see this new push to abolish BECTA and open up British education to software other than Microsoft's.



And the future for BECTA? Here is what the report’s authors conclude:

“Abolish the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA). BECTA oversees IT procurement and technology strategy for schools in England and Wales. This has had negative consequences for many schools, precluding them from organising IT facilities and programmes as they see necessary. It hinders an open and competitive market, and if schools were to be allocated money directly, the sensible option would be to let them purchase the equipment that they required according to their needs. Abolishing BECTA would realise a saving of €£11 million.”

It would be a controversial move, but I suspect not one regretted by the vast majority of teachers.

Another plus would be that the gaping hole BECTA’s demise would create in the centre of the main hall at the BETT Show could be used to actually showcase real students (rather than bureaucrats) using technology as part of their leaning.


If BECTA cares about education, then it will teach methods, as opposed to selling products to young people who are paying for these without any choice given. BECTA is notorious for its relationship with Microsoft, which is actually getting worse as an expansionist consumerist. Based on this week's news, Microsoft shops are coming to create not just Microsoft software but a "Microsoft PC" too. This ought to eliminate some OEM partnerships that Microsoft has enjoyed, but at the same time it threatens to further reduce choice.

Microsoft's retail and hardware partnerships may hinder its expansion into the retail space, as it seeks to compete with Apple's brick-and-mortar locations.


Neither Apple nor Microsoft should be acceptable for education. Apple would actually be much worse for education because of the overpriced hardware monopoly. Education wants to be free, as in freedom.

"Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school."

--Albert Einstein

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