The following information was extracted from a report submitted to us
by ECEN Elementary Teacher Debora Badilla Huento. Her commitment played
a key role in raising Free Software awareness and ultimately getting
the school to migrate.
City of Neuquén, capital of the
Province of Neuquén, in the Argentine Patagonia Region.
We are a private Christian school providing education from
pre-elementary to high school levels in accord with state educational
In Argentina, each province develops its own educational policy. In
the case of the province of Neuquén, teaching computer science at
elementary schools is not obligatory. Actually, computer science is an
Our school advocates the ideals of solidarity, honesty, excellence in
education, the observance of law, the constant search for truth, justice
and love in all daily activities. Using and teaching proprietary
software was in contrast with these values. School directors and
teachers were also overwhelmed by software license management and by the
many restrictions that the terms of those licenses imposed on the
Educational quality and long term goals were also taken into account
during the decision process. It is our understanding that training
students on how to use a specific brand of software is far from the
mission of a school.
How We Did It
The whole process lasted four years: we started in 2006 with all our
work stations using proprietary software and concluded in 2010 with full
free operating systems and programs in all the school's computers,
including the administration offices and the library.
The plan consisted mainly of several measures aimed at raising
awareness about the philosophical, ethical and socio-political
implications of the use of technology. This fundamental aspect was
maintained and underlined during the whole process and put into practice
by the gradual substitution of existing proprietary programs with Free
Libre Software programs.
During the first year we introduced some theoretical courses, namely
"Computer Science History" and "Introduction to Computer Architecture".
We also covered the legal aspects of software such as the various types
of licenses, and we talked about the commitment of Free Software users
and developers to the community.
Training courses were given to high school level teachers in the IT
and all other areas, to teachers of the elementary level, to the Board
of Directors and administration staff, and to the librarian.
The following human resources were employed to carry out the
- 1 Computer Science teacher for the pre-elementary and elementary
levels. This teacher is also in charge of maintaining the computers
in the classroom and qualifying other teachers and school staff in the
use of the operating system.
- 5 Computer Science teachers for the high school Level.
- 1 PC and network technician in charge of repairing the computers
of the high school level.
- 1 Free Software programmer hired to write the Administrative
- 1 IT Professor hired to qualify the school staff.
Migration costs were affordable and well within the school's
- PC Repairs: In 2006, ECEN hired a computer technician who was
provided with Free Software documentation and a DVD of the operating
system in use. The school has been working with him since then.
- Training: 60 training hours to qualify the school staff.
Commitment to Free Software
As of 2010, we are using fully free operating systems, non in dual
boot, as follows:
- 22 PC in the pre-elementary and primary classrooms (4-12 years
- 24 PC in the high school classrooms (13-17 years old students)
- 7 PC in the administration offices
- 3 PC in the library
- 1 notebook in the video classroom
Some of the Free Libre programs we use are:
We found the migration experience quite positive and we decided to
adopt a Free Software environment for all work stations. In October 2009 the
school sponsored the Software Freedom Day in the city of San Martín de
Although it required dedication and perseverance, the process was pleasant.
Now we disseminate what we've learned in order to help other educational
We would like to express our appreciation for the excellent work done to
all the people involved in the migration effort.