Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we see various Governments investing heavily in medical infrastructure to aid the public. But, Kerala proposed a different model designed to not only make remarkable progress in the public sector but also enhance the development of public education and make it a priority too. Because of this model, Kerala has now become the first Indian State to provide hi-tech classrooms in all Government and aided schools, thereby, achieving 100% digitalisation of school education.
Almost all classrooms have shifted online because of COVID-19. But, did you know that this has gravely impacted the learning of over 1.5 billion children around the world? Access to online resources and facilities is a problem for many. This impacts Kerala in a major way as education is considered to be a part of the solution to rebuilding the economy. Therefore, this initiative by the Government, to improve the quality of education and provide necessary infrastructure, is the need of the hour.
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Here’s what students and schools in Kerala stand to benefit from the State Government’s ‘High-tech School’ and ‘High-tech Lab’ programmes:
- 41 lakh school students in 16,027 schools have been provided 3,74,274 digital devices, with 183443 teachers who are ICT trained.
- 12,678 schools have been set up with high-speed broadband internet connections.
- All the internet devices come with a warranty of five years and insurance cover.
- To address complaints, a web portal and a call centre have been set up.
The initiative was funded by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) and implemented by the Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE); a Govt of Kerala establishment set up solely to “foster, promote and implement the modernisation of educational institutions”. The KIIFB has invested around ₹ 793.50 crore to bring this programme to fruition.
While Kerala’s education system may have been fully digitised, there is more work ahead in terms of providing students with educational facilities at home. Finance Minister Thomas Isaac shared, “All classrooms 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 in 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.” So, the next step would be to bring access to online education to the homes of all students.