Former Students at Czech School Give Back by Integrating Linux Education

This feature story is courtesy of Martin Beránek at the Czech school SSPS (Smíchovská střední průmyslová škola)

The beginning of Linux in Smíchovská střední průmyslová škola goes back a long time. At first we have began to use Linux in very fundamental way. We started to teach on dual boot stations equipped with Debian and Windows. The computer classes were already fully focused on a Windows based environment so sudden reinstallation wasn't an option.

Let’s say the situation wasn't optimal for teaching Linux. Just imagine how far Linux evolved in 10 years. We had to react and change PCs from dual boot to a full Linux ready classroom. The whole infrastructure of the new class was designed by Lukáš Bayer. Lukáš came across of Slackware in his professional life and went through a lot of Linux based projects. As a former student of SSPŠ he came back and started to teach. His first steps were to improve Linux in the school. Students didn't have any chance to use Linux in the native environment and couldn't see the practical examples of Linux in IT. That’s why he started with 17 older computers and Kubuntu 10.04. His work was encouraged by a municipality grant from which provided enough money to buy a new server and computers for the Linux classroom. His motto is “Linux is easier to administer than Windows” and in this way he teach how to make it real.

But Linux is not just an operating system for us. Sooner or later we noticed that Linux is and always was the part of networking. So we needed to have Linux ready class even though there was Windows on the hard drives. First we used a virtual solution, but now we have small easy app which prepares an image for class and makes it available for local network just to boot it up. This way we can provide Linux in classes where there is for some reasons, only Windows. This small app which works with Linux system utilities is developed by Martin Beránek, who studied at SSPŠ and now teaches networking. You can get a working .iso and use it on small USB flash drive. If you cooperate with the network administrator you can just walk around and boot your class whenever.

To teach on Linux is one thing, but will the students have the motivation to even start? For other IT icons, we usually have an academy focused on subject. So the academy provides certification for the students. It means we were looking for the way how to give students opportunity to get the certified from Linux. And that’s why we gladly started partnered with LPI managed by Petr Hejhal who was also student at SSPŠ.

Our school was approached by Elzbieta Godlewska of LPI with an offer to be a pilot school that will certify their students the knowledge of the Linux operating system. Elzbieta first discussed with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport about the plan to start LPIC testing in the Czech Republic. Mr. Stárek from the ministry suggest our school as suitable institution where to start. This is the moment when our LPIC testing center integration started.

To sum up, Linux has strong roots in Czech Republic and we like to think that we are part of it. Our goal is to try our best to teach the students and we are sure one of the things which is going to be helpful is LPI.

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LPI was forturnate to meet Lukáš Bayer, Martin Beránek, and Petr Hejhal (pictured below) at the LPI Annual EMEA Meeting in Prague, Czech Repbulic in September.