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Becta under fire for procurement framework

MPs say schools being denied open source

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Nineteen MPs have accused a government agency of restricting the procurement of software in schools.

In an Early Day Motion (EDM) led by Liberal Democrat MP John Pugh, the MPs claims that the government's adviser on the use of ICT in education, the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta), is excluding suppliers of open source software.

The EDM says: "This house...expresses concern that Becta and the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) through the use of outdated purchasing frameworks, are effectively denying schools the option of benefiting from both free and open source software and the value and experience small and medium and ICT companies could bring to the schools market."

Pugh told GC News: "The EDM is like a gauntlet being thrown down to Becta and DfES. It is a challenge for them to prove that our concerns have been misplaced.

"This is an opportunity for government to not only talk the talk but to walk the walk, because within education the procurement frameworks are stacked against the small to medium enterprises especially at the bidding stage."

A Becta spokesperson said: "We strongly reject the claims made by John Pugh that it is denying schools the opportunity to benefit from free and open source software.

"We also strongly reject claims that the procurement frameworks are outdated."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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