Computer education just got a big boost. NIIT, Intel India, Microsoft and State Bank of India (SBI), four formidable names, have formed a strategic joint partnership to initiate IT and IT-assisted education across private sector schools in the country.
Among the four partners, NIIT proposes to front-lead the education package through its NIIT K-12 (Kindergarten to 12th standard) programme by developing content in major subjects like English, Math, Science and Social Sciences. NIIT claims to have already developed 4,000 hours of content as per school curriculum and plans to take it further alongwith training teachers and thereafter students in IT-assisted education practices. Intel India will be providing its technology, software, content and integration facilities by facilitating power efficient personal computers. It also plans to extend its reach to private schools with its Genuine Intel Dealer network for the IT-assisted education programme. Microsoft India, under its Partners in Learning Program, will be working in areas of training, certification, relevant content development and affordable access to its products like Windows and Office, via its academic license programme. The State Bank of India as the fourth partner will be providing easy financing options for the schools with loans ranging from INR 30,000 to INR 12 lakh currently, at an annual interest rate ranging from 8.5 to 10.5 per cent.
With an estimated 2,00,000 private schools across the country, the IT-assisted education initiative proposes to target 10,000 schools immediately. SBI through its 13,700 branches across the country proposes to assist as many private schools as possible for financing the programme and reducing the digital divide. According to estimates, a school with 800 children enrolled will require between Rs 8-12 lakh for introducing the IT-assisted education programme from kindergarten to class 12th. The four partners for the IT-assisted education initiative have targeted 35 cities across India to begin with, and have signed agreements with as many as 100 private schools.
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