Open Education/Computing - NZ case study

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Open Computing - A New Zealand Model

The New Zealand Ministry of Education allows schools:

  • To be self managing
  • To decide what computer operating systems they would like to use
  • To have School Management System software as optional
  • To retain confidential information in open formats such as Open Office Calc or Open Office Base
  • To conduct their twice yearly school roll returns on-line through the MOE's portal Enrol

Warrington School

  • Has stopped using a SMS
  • Is saving $560 per year on its SMS fee by using free applications
  • Is saving $600+ per year on library software by using Koha library software
  • Is saving $1000s per year by recycling older computers from tertiary institutions, businesses and friends of the school

Warrington School was running only proprietary software in 2005

  • We were paying about $1100 dollars each year to use Library and School Management software.
  • The library software was not installed fully and was effectively a paper only system.
  • The school begun to use a non-proprietary (free software) operating system GNU/Linux (Ubuntu) on some of the older classroom computers.
  • The school struggled to run our SMS system on Ubuntu than ran readily using Microsoft.
  • Because we chose to Ubuntu had to pay (through donated funds) for a technician to help install our SMS onto our server - which worked at a basic level.
  • We had time donated from an Open Source company keen to see Warrington succeed in using Free software, this was used to assist us in using an SMS on our server - this was not successful using Wine.
  • The 4 teachers and principal did not use the SMS system.
  • The school secretary used the SMS for roll returns twice yearly and for creating some lists, such as pupil details, health, parents and money owing.


  • Remove all proprietary software from Warrington School.
  • Share with other schools that they could stop using proprietary software and save themselves money.


  • Because NZ schools can run without proprietary software if they choose to.
  • Because NZ children will not be disadvantaged by schools opting to use free software.
  • Because the NZ government presently in a recession should be looking towards innovative practices within its own civil services to save on expenditure.
  • Because the NZ government should be encouraging thrift by those who are administering government funded budgets.
  • Because New Zealand tax payers money should be used to pay for the employment of New Zealanders not for proprietary software licenses - especially if this money is going off shore.
  • There are free and open SMS available that with some NZ technical expertise could be adapted to meet the demands of all NZ schools.

Claroline claSS Koha - free library software or keep things simple by using spreadsheets and data bases that are free with all operating systems.

Principal's Commitment

I believe as the educational leader of the school that:

  • Warrington School would benefit from extra secretarial,teacher aide hours or library books rather than spending money on a Library software and SMS fee.
  • Warrington children and staff are not disadvantaged from using Free software.
  • NZ schools should be able to choose their own non-proprietary software and not be disadvantaged by the Ministry of Education for doing so.
  • The Board of Trustees of Warrington School endorses the decision to use non-proprietary software in Warrington School.



  • Library
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