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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/kamers...
Dutch government hands over education's keys to Microsoft (7.11.2011)
Dutch petition (only in Dutch, 27.09.2011)
International petition (28.09.2011)
(contribution from Jan Stedehouder - EDRi-member Vrijschrift - Netherlands)