Most NZ schools have a "BYOD" programme for student-provided devices. The gov't has got this "free" Microsoft Office365 licensing as a perk of paying many $millions/year for an all-of-gov't agreement: https://education.govt.nz/school/running-a-school/technology-in-schools/software/microsoft/ Schools are starting to require MSO365 for students... but it doesn't run on all devices (Linux comps or Chromebooks). This creates a major problem with BYOD policies: the schools don't know what they're doing & students are being disadvantaged by their legit tech choices.
What's more, the Min of Ed, with this MSO365 "free" license programme is creating a huge imposition upon all students. Their digital works/creativity is being locked into a set of formats that can only be reliably read by MS-blessed software, which is because MS controls the formats & changes them at their whim (often to set back would-be competitors who're trying to offer compatibility). Our gov't is effectively (probably out of ignorance) mandating the of one foreign megacorp's software.
What's worse, all of these students' digital creative content is, by virtue of adopting this proprietary Microsoft solution, being stored in "the Cloud" outside NZ. What're the privacy implications of that? "Don't worry about it" our Privacy Commissioner says, despite the fact the data is outside our jurisdiction. Remember how Facebook laughed at his requests to honour NZ privacy legislation for NZers? Microsoft is bigger than Facebook... Our gov't is making a major blunder with our kids.
This is especially true when our students could all be using open source software that does the same things as MSO365, without committing their data to MS-controlled file formats, and it could all be stored here in NZ, in our jurisdiction. Plus it would cost a lot less for schools & anyone interacting with them, because then they wouldn't need to run MSO365 to be compatible (but they could stick with it if they wanted). What's the value of our kids' data not being held hostage by US interests?
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