KITE and BSNL collaborate to offer high-speed internet access to Kerala schools

KITE and BSNL

The Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) has announced its partnership with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by the parties in order to provide high schools, higher secondary schools, and vocational higher secondary schools in the southern state with 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) broadband internet connectivity.

The MoU was signed by K Anvar Sadath, CEO, KITE, and C V Vinod, CGM, Kerala Circle, BSNL in the presence of Minister for General Education V. Sivankutty and Principal Secretary A P M Mohammad Hanish on 27th July.

The initiative by the Kerela government aims to provide easy access to a high-speed internet connection for children in state-run schools.

According to an official statement, the effort would see the current 8 Mbps FTTH (Fibre to the Home) connections in schools updated to 100 Mbps, which is 12.5 times faster.

Moreover, the 100 Mbps internet connectivity would benefit 45,000 classrooms in 4,685 schools included in the Hi-Tech school project, with better Information and Communications Technology (ICT) enabled education.

“As part of the Hi-Tech school project in 2018, KITE had deployed laptops, projectors, USB speakers, and networking in these classes,” the report added.

Additionally, the reports stated that BSNL has agreed to upgrade the broadband connection in schools to 100 Mbps without charging any additional fees, keeping in line with the existing pricing of INR 10,000 (plus GST) under which the former 8 Mbps broadband connection was provided.

Besides, each school can now consume up to 3,300 gigabytes (GB) of data each month as per this plan. “This step, which is the first in the country, would indeed strengthen the initiatives of the state towards becoming a knowledge society,” V. Sivankutty, Minister for General Education, said.

Furthermore, the reports stated that all classes currently have offline access to the Samagra Resource Portal and Sahitham Mentoring Portal, but with the addition of a 100 Mbps connection, all such digital/online systems can now be used more efficiently.

Recently, KITE under the General Education Department has won the Chief Minister’s Award for Innovations in Public Policy. The honor includes a citation and a cash award of INR 5 lakh.

15 awards, including 9 national awards, have been given to KITE since 2017. KITE is also working on a number of ICT initiatives, including SchoolWiki, the largest ICT content repository in the nation, in a local language; KOOL, the state’s first official online course; staff fixation software; online teacher transfer and posting; and the State School Arts Festival.

One of the initiatives that won KITE the CM’s award was the First Bell Digital Class. The First Bell classes were introduced to ensure students’ continuity in their education throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Besides, the KITE Victers education channel broadcast over 18,000 digital classes, making it a leader in ICT-based education.

On 12 October 2020, the Chief Minister declared Kerala the first State in the country to become completely digital in education. The savings of INR 3,000 Cr made by the state by installing free software in over 2 lakh laptops in schools also gained attention stated in the reports.