Microsoft Office 365 for Education, a no-cost suite of communication and collaboration tools includes the following:
- Messaging Apps: Exchange online (10 GB in box per student with 18MB attachment) and Outlook calendar.
- 25 GB online storage space (through Windows Sky Drive).
- Office web apps -Online companions to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint and One Note.
- 24/7 online support for students and administrators.
The project needs to be completed by 30th June, 2013. It is hereby requested that you may extend your support to the program.
Every education institution has distinct goals, standards and regulations, budget pressures, security concerns, and technical legacies. No single approach addresses all technology challenges, and solutions can rarely take a one-size-fits-all approach.
The movement toward cloud computing- Technologies that enable organizations to access Internet-based information, applications, and services-rings increased choice, flexibility, and capabilities to education IT departments. Cloud computing complements traditional IT models in which software and data are hosted on desktop computers and servers.
AICTE is responsible for certifying, planning, establishing standards for, and coordinating technical higher education in India. AICTE serves more than 8 million students and 500,000 faculty members in 11,500 technical colleges and institutes across the country.
Dr. SS Mantha, chairman, AICTE said, "Office 365 will enhance our day-to-day communication, collaboration, and monitoring of the colleges we oversee.... This will help us promote and propagate innovation across all 11,500 institutions."
"Microsoft provided enterprise-grade services and support whereas other vendors did not. Data security and privacy were of paramount importance to us, and we felt that Office 365 offered the compliance features that we required. We were impressed by Microsoft's extensive experience in higher education and ability to deploy a system across geographically distributed locations without adding significantly to IT management costs," he added.
But, keeping in mind the fact that there are many open source alternatives to Microsoft Office 365, the decision from AICTE appears to be in favour of vendor lock-ins. Also, paying for licensed software that has equally good free and open source alternatives is equivalent to burning your pocket for nothing.