Kerala Government Declares Total Digitalisation of School Education

CIOReviewIndia Team | Monday, 12 October 2020, 13:36 IST

When the State Government announced  to provide hi-tech classrooms in all governmental and aided schools, for achieving total digitalization of school education, Kerala becomes the first State in India to do so.

The state declared about the successful completion of the ‘High-tech School’ and ‘High-tech Lab’ programmes, which was launched by the State Government for being a part of its efforts to improve the quality of schooling, which was made by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on October 12. The Chief Minister said, “Kerala has now become the first totally digital State in the public education sector in India.”

Through this programme, 41 lakh school students in 16,027 schools which have received (3,74,274 digital devices) will be benefitted and 183443 teachers, specially ICT trained will be available. There will be high speed broadband internet connections for 12,678 schools, which is a part of the programmes, and the devices will have a warranty of five years, with insurance covering. There is a web portal and call centre are developed for the redressal of complaints.

These programmes are funded by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), which will be implemented by the Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE). It is an agency working under the State General Education Department entrusted with the modernization of educational institutions.

This has been possible due to the financial assistance of Rs. 793.50 crore which has been sanctioned by the KIIFB, and also by utilization of the additional development funds from the Members of Legislative Assembly and local bodies.

Pinarayi Vijayan said, “It’s not a small achievement for a State like Kerala, where the project was completed with just Rs 599 crore of the total Rs 793.50 crore assistance sanctioned by the KIIFB, with the rest of the resources for classroom infrastructure development being mobilised locally with amazing competitive spirit by the people, local bodies, people’s representatives and Parent Teacher Associations and alumni associations and several other such agencies. A total of 135.50 crore has been spent as local contribution for this project.”

The Chief Minister also added, “While all over the world we see governments withdrawing from investing in public facilities, Kerala is proposing an alternative model where government involvement can make the development of public education a special area for people’s participation. This is a model Kerala is putting forth before the world. It is an intervention aimed at our children, and to secure the future of our State. It is also an alternative put forth by the Left.”

Pinarayi Vijayan highlighted about certain features of the projects saying, “Only free software has been used in the nearly two lakh laptops provided by the KITE as part of the project. By avoiding proprietary software, the gain has been to the tune of Rs 3000 crore. This is something that has been noticed not just at the national level but internationally as well. It is because of the total adoption of free software that Kerala has been able to provide the most advanced technical support to our students and for teacher training. Now it is up to Kerala’s teaching community to use technology and provide quality education to the students.”

Exploiting the unique feature of Kerala’s education system, which has been the primarily inclusive, the Finance Minister, Thomas Isaac, said, “However that the COVID-19 lockdown has shown the State that digitalisation can cause divisions. It is in this context that the State government took the initiate to provide the best digital facilities in all government and aided schools. “The Chief Minister has now announced that it that the programme has been fully implemented. Everybody who was part of the Save Public Education campaign can be proud of this achievement, because it was not reduced to programme where the government merely provided the devices in all schools. One can understand the huge public participation in this programme from the fact that the local public contributed nearly 25 per cent of the resources put forth by the Government. This has also become a great encouragement to our efforts to improve quality of curricular and co-curricular academic activities going on in Kerala. It helped improve teacher training and such activities, but more than that, has triggered several new initiatives at the local level for development of study materials, creation of virtual learning centres at the local level with the help of engineering colleges, inter-school broadcasting facilities, and initiative such a Little KITES for encouraging co-curricular activities. These are all major changes. The huge public involvement in welcoming computers into our classrooms has come as a big encouragement to our Public Education programme.”

The Finance Minister said, “All class rooms have become digital. Now we have to provide laptops in all homes; five lakh people have already registered, and we expect at least 10 lakh homes would come forward to utilise an instalment programme offered by the government. By March next year we are planning to provide internet facilities to all homes. Our digitalisation effort will not be confined merely to the area of education but will spread to governance and in the provision of essential services. The declaration made by the Chief Minister today will lead to a lot of connected developments in Kerala.”

Don't Miss ( 1-5 of 25 )