“ICT Enabled Education-Makes Education Valuable in Gujarat”

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InOpen Technologies offers products and services to private schools, municipal schools and the state board and government schools. Rupesh Kumar Shah, CEO and Co-Founder, InOpen Technologies, SINE, IIT Bombay sheds light on the Gujarat experience…

Astute governmental policies and the efficient mapping of resources have helped in bringing out phenomenal transformations. The policies support the endeavour for rapid expansion and growth of knowledge based economy. Gujarat has successfully attracted investors due to its uninterrupted power supply, low cost of real estate and investor friendly policies, which has also created a plethora of direct and indirect jobs.

With GIL and GESIA backing the IT infrastructure, the goal of effective delivery of ICTs comes into play. Some of the enabling policies are Promoting KPO based industries, enhancing supply of skilled workforce, simplification of labour Laws and investor facilitation. This is so unlike the complex procedures that one faces in other states to set up a company. The digital content for education, ICT literacy and competency enhancement, and the ICT based teaching methods that are running across the state are enhancing the scope of education. Gujarat is the emerging educational destination.

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Gujarat to Leapfrog

The focus of the government of Gujarat has now turned towards investing in quality education. The state can do the following to leapfrog and lead adoption of ICT in education:

  • Optimise the investment by using the same infrastructure for multiple purposes. For example, the computer lab of school can be used as training centre for parents so that education continues beyond school. 
  • Use FOSS applications. Even if it may be a bigger challenge to alter the operating system, we can focus on using free applications. This includes educational games such as GComrpis, Tux Maths, productivity tools such as office tools, and programming language like Scratch.
  • Provide content for school and higher education in local language. 

Reaching the Last Mile

To reach out to all students and minimise dropouts three factors have to be taken into account:

Keep the cost of sustained access low – Software licenses have to be renewed and there has to be adequate hardware support. By using free and open source applications actively the total cost of implementation can be lowered.

Do not reinvent the wheel-We need to focus on sustaining the initiatives already in place.

Understand the user needs- Educational needs of society have to be studied so that the technology useful for everyone can be developed. Value added services provided along with regular education will ensure sustained interest.

Make positive use of the social pressure- It is important to create a positive social awareness to maximise the reach of such initiatives. Local role models can be roped in. They can be used to take care of the kiosks/mobile labs as well.

On eINDIA 2011

An event like eINDIA2011 will showcase the cutting-edge developments in ICT, and emphasise upon the benefits of such technologies for school and higher education. This event will help researchers, educators, policy makers and teachers across India by providing them with an update on the latest initiatives from the leading ICT infrastructure providers. eINDIA2011 will be a golden opportunity for witnessing latest innovative solutions from within the Indian ICT industry and beyond.

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