View Full Version : Ubuntu-based OpenICDL in Zimbabwe

February 19th, 2008, 09:43 AM
The OpenICDL Project

Please note the "launch" of a new Ubuntu Zimbabwe project: OpenICDL for Zimbabwe

This project involves the development of free course material, and free training/testing software for ICDL, which will of course be based on Ubuntu :)

Check out the project page https://wiki.ubuntu.com/OpenIcdl for further details.

This project has been taken on by our newest LoCo Team Member, Richard Simango. Thanks Richard! :KS

Please spread the word and support this project as much as possible. Any volunteers who would like to contribute would be very welcome - please see the project page for more info and get in touch with Richard or myself.

In case you're wondering what the point of this project is, here are a few thoughts to ponder:

One of the biggest areas where Ubuntu and open source software should be promoted is within schools. I don't think most people realise just how important this is. Obviously students and the younger generation on the whole, are the future of every single country and therefore the entire world. While it is important to promote the ideals of Ubuntu and open source in all spheres of the community, I personally feel that schools and the educational arena should be one of our main focal points. Aside from the effect this will have on our future, let us also remember that the vast majority of parents (particularly in countries like Zimbabwe) learn more about IT and technology from their kids than they do from anywhere else!

Now, from personal experience, I can tell you that many schools in Zimbabwe would jump at the opportunity to run free (open source) software - particularly the many financially disadvantaged schools in the country - but on more than one occasion I have found the deciding factor to be something like: "But our ICDL training is based on Windows so we can't switch to Linux."

I truly believe that once we are in a position to offer completely free ICDL course material (whether manual or automated) based on completely free software (like Ubuntu), we will be that much closer to achieving what could be a major breakthrough for education in Zimbabwe and other third-world countries. And it would also go a long way to increasing people's exposure to the many previously unheard of open source alternatives.

I would like to congratulate and thank Richard Simango for taking this on, because it is no small task coordinating something like this. I would also like to personally appeal to interested individuals to get involved and contribute as much as possible, so that we can get this project off the ground and take the first steps towards free computer learning in Zimbabwe.

May 5th, 2008, 04:46 PM
OpenICDL is an open source project that aims to develop and maintain a Free/Open Source version of the training materials used to ready students for the International Computer Driving License certification.

The Ubuntu Zimbabwe team is working on a project to bring Ubuntu based OpenICDL courses in Zimbabwe. Why OpenICDL and not the current ICDL? Do we need another Computer Drivers License, one which is Open? (Does this bring memories of the heated debate on whether we need another file format standard - ODF vs. OOXML?)

Here is the case for OpenICDL:

"It is indeed a strange world when educators need to be convinced that sharing information, as opposed to concealing information, is a good thing. The advances in all of the arts and sciences, indeed the sum total of human knowledge, is the result of the open sharing of ideas, theories, studies and research. Yet throughout many school systems, the software in use on computers is closed and locked, making educators partners in the censorship of the foundational information of this new age. This software not only seeks to obscure how it works, but it also entraps the users' data within closed, proprietary formats which change on the whim of the vendor and which are protected by the bludgeon of the End User License Agreement. This entrapment of data is a strong, punitive incentive to purchase the latest version of the software, regardless of whether it suits the educational purposes better, thereby siphoning more of the school's limited resources away from the school's primary purpose. The use of such closed software in education may be justified only where no suitable open source solution exists. "

"Students should, at least, be given the opportunity to see how their new tools work. They should be given the opportunity to examine the inner workings of software. They should be given the opportunity to extend the functions of their tools, where they see or imagine possibilities. They should not be held back by locking the toolbox of the Information Age and told they must not peer inside, must not try to discover how it works, must not share their tools with others, must not use their tools without paying proper tribute to the software overlords, under penalty and punishment of law. "


What a strong case for Open Source Software in schools?!

"Integrating information and communication technology into schools has been challenging. A central component of the challenge is coping with the expense and usage restrictions of software that is installed on school computers. An alternative approach to the educational software problem is, however, emerging. This approach involves making greater use of open source software. In many cases open source software can effectively replace the proprietary or commercial software that dominates the educational computing landscape. Using this software option would result in decreased costs, increased flexibility, and increased opportunities to address social and ethical issues related to information and communication technology. In order to responsibly spend taxpayers’ money and to maximize the potential of information and communication technology in education, it is important that educators learn about open source software and challenge conceptions that give priority to proprietary software."

Help Wanted:
There are many ways a person can contribute to the project. You can participate directly by coding, markup, writing, editing, indexing, proofing, testing (reporting bugs), answering questions, proposing ideas and much more.

To begin with I suggest team members acquaint themselves with openicdl/openecdl <http://www.openicdl.org.za>

Then from they we will build up on exiting materials and resources available online.



May 6th, 2008, 10:17 AM
Thanks Ronald. Excellent stuff.

August 13th, 2010, 09:34 PM
Just in case anyone is following this thread; a brief update.

An OpenICDL testing demo was provided by the Zimbabwe LoCo Team at an ICDL workshop run by the Computer Society of Zimbabwe a few months ago. The demo licences were provided by a company based in SA who is offering a Web-based testing application, which simulates an Ubuntu desktop.

There are no test centres in Zimbabwe who have officially adopted OpenICDL yet though. One of the hold-ups is the lack of Ubuntu-based training material. However, at least we have shown that the tests are available.

The Computer Society of Zimbabwe is very eager to offer OpenICDL, and are ready to handle testing, should anyone wish to adopt this at their centre.

Please contact team@ubuntu.org.zw or info@csz.org.zw for any further information on OpenICDL testing.