I.T. Co. has summarized the first stages of the implementation of school freeware projects


I.T. Co. has summarized the first stages of the implementation of school freeware projects
The I.T. Group of Companies has announced the results of the first stages of the work fulfilled under the projects of implementing the open source software package (OSS) in all Russian general education institutions.* The work performed according to the 3 lots of the open competition organized by the Russian Federal Education Agency, Rosobrazovaniye, is being performed in strict accordance with the schedule. Some positive results have already been achieved.

According to the results of the competitions organized by Rosobrazovaniye (Federal Education Agency) in September 2009, two companies have become contractors, both belonging to I.T. Group. The I.T. Co. as a system integration company is responsible for the work performed in the framework of 2 lots, supporting the putting into operation and further development of the repository of Linux-based ‘school’ operating systems (the repository was created in 2008), for technical support, process monitoring and OSS quality appraisal as well as for OSS compatibility with the new generation educational products. Other companies working with them to implement the project are PingWin Software (it belongs to I.T. Group), Alt Linux and Linux Inc.

The first stage of the 2 projects has just been finalized. During a short period of time, a repository has been created featuring an integrated development environment and base distribution packages, which has been sent to schools as the First Aid package. The repository has also been uploaded to the dedicated website where everyone can work with it, update or modify. Further plans include adding to the repository other OSS products used at schools, which can acquire a 3rd level support. The public supervisory commission will participate in extending the repository. The commission has been created to ensure public control over the repository support, extending and modifying as well as technical support quality control.

The 24 × 7 technical support hotline is operating as well as the corresponding web portal, OSS package for Russian educational institutions, which has good chances to grow up to become a kind of community and a place where the users will get high-quality technical support, make use of all kinds of documentation, and discuss issues of importance.

Besides, a special partnership program starts off today, which is supposed to inform the regional IT companies of the project thus making it possible for them to collaborate with the educational institutions. With this end in view, a dedicated section will be created at the PingWin Software company website featuring the whole list of those regional companies that are ready to collaborate with schools to implement the OSS. This data will be also sent to educational institutions electronically.

The I.T. Academy is responsible for the 3rd lot work, which is going on according to the initial schedule. The work includes training educational workers implementing and using the OSS package in class. As planned earlier, this project also consists of several stages, the first of which finished a few days ago, on October 25. During that time, the I.T. Academy, in strict accordance with the Rosobrazovaniye's requirements and technical assignment, developed education and methodology complexes, prepared electronic teaching courses, and launched an educational portal providing methodological, educational, and background information.

At the next stage, according to the schedule, the I.T. Academy will hold 20 regional conferences on using OSS at schools (the first conferences of this kind have already been held in Krasnoyarsk and Voronezh), provide advanced training, with state certification, of 7,500 persons as well as distant education of approximately 60,000 school teachers, who will then be tested and certified. The final stage of the project will be dedicated to monitoring the use of the OSS at educational institutions.

Summarizing the results of the first stages of implementing the school OSS projects, IgorKasimov, first deputy for the I.T. CEO, said that “As early as at the application stage, we did understand that, if we succeeded, we would have to do our best. Much more important than the tough time frame is the social role of these projects, their importance for the whole system of education in Russia. We try to make quite transparent for all those concerned everything we are doing under the state contracts, and this lays additional responsibility on us as the contractors. The first results show that thanks to the great teamwork and professionalism, we have achieved a lot. And this makes us confident in the eventual success.”

*The I.T Group is the winner of 3 open competitions organized by the Federal Educational Agency:
  • Developing and modernizing the freeware package for Russian general education institutions
  • Providing technical support to Russian general education institutions implementing and using the freeware package
  • Training educational workers to implement the open source package and use it in class.

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