Kerala becomes ‘fully digital’ in public education space

Kerala has declared itself to be the first fully digital State in the country in the field of public education, with the completion of the ‘hi-tech classroom and hi-tech lab’ projects in government-owned schools. About 41 lakh students are expected to benefit.

Making this declaration, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Monday that the public education protection campaign in the State is the best example of the participatory development plan that it has to offer to the world.

Making a big difference

“The world view is that the government is withdrawing from the public sector. It is at such a juncture that the Government of Kerala has intervened and made a big difference in the field of public education. This aligns the future of the State with that of the world,” Vijayan said.

This path-breaking initiative has elevated general education in the State to global standards. “Great changes have taken place not only in the physical condition of these schools but also at the academic level. If replicated, the model could help a vast majority of the poor in the country.”

3.75 lakh devices distributed

The government has distributed close to 3.75 lakh digital devices to 16,027 schools, from classes 1 to 12, as part of the Smart Classroom project. In the first phase, 45,000 high-tech classrooms were set up in 4,752 high schools and higher secondary schools.

High-tech labs have been set up in 11,275 schools at the primary and upper primary levels. High-speed internet has been installed in 12,678 schools. The IT equipment comes with a five-year warranty and insurance coverage. More than 1.83 lakh teachers have been trained as part of this project.

Public education campaign

The high-tech classroom project was implemented as part of the campaign to protect the public education system in the State, the Chief Minister said. The first phase of the work was initiated by Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) in 2017 in LP and UP Schools.

The project was funded by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), a government-owned fund management company. High-tech classrooms have also been set up with the local area development fund of MPs and MLAs, and local body funds, the Chief Minister said.

KITE, Corona and Kerala

Local participation ensured

The KITE has distributed two lakh laptops, and use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in these has resulted in estimated savings of ₹3,000 crore. Although ₹793.5 crore was allocated from KIIFB for the project, the work has been completed at a cost of ₹595 crore.

In order to complete the project faster and at a lower cost, work on the floor, ceiling, construction and electrification were executed with local participation. An amount of ₹135.5 crore was spent here with participation of public representatives, local authorities, teachers, parents, alumni and others stakeholders, the Chief Minister added.

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