Not just a pioneer in taking computer education to high school students as early as 2001 under then chief minister S M Krishna’s regime, Karnataka’s tryst with ICT as an educational tool is something that cannot be written off easily, despite slight hiccups.
Titled Mahiti Sindhu, the project covered 1,000 government schools over a five-year period up to 2005-06 in partnership with private computer educators NIIT, Aptech and Educomp. The scheme was expanded with nine schools added on, extended by another three and handed over to government-owned Keonics for running.
Now on the cusp of, hopefully, a third lease of life, the State Government is awaiting Central nod for Mahiti Sindhu and two more computer-aided education projects - Revised Class Project (RCP) and Eleventh Finance Commission (EFC) scheme covering 148 schools - to ride piggyback on the Centre’s ICT programme, an overarching endeavour to improve access to, and quality of education through Information and Communication Technology. Under ICT I and II, 2000 odd schools have been covered in the State.
With nearly a decade’s experience behind them, the State has resolved many problems along the way, says B P Venkatesh, Deputy Directory, Department of State Educational Research and Training (DSERT).
The restrictions imposed by limited softwares in the past, language barrier, power disruptions, connectivity problems etc., have been overcome with time and technological advancement. Now, in partnership with IT firms like Intel, America India Foundation, Adobe and Microsoft Academy, the State’s computer and computer-aided eduction has advanced into an Info-age, imparting students hands-on training with handicams and animation tools, continuing education for faculty and awards as incentive, content softwares of core subjects in CDs and email IDs for the young netizens.
“Our aim is not just computer literacy but to improve quality of education through technology inputs,” explains Venkatesh. Each high school is provided five to 15 computers and two trained faculty (depending on number of students) along with scanner, LCD projector, digital camera, headphones and other tools.
Out of 6,771 government and aided high schools, the State aims to bring 6447 schools under computer education before coming June. That amounts to 92 per cent coverage, leaving out a mere 400 odd schools.