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New IT goal: All teachers to be wired

The Govt plans an ambitious project to connect all educational institutions to Internet, reports Chetan Chauhan.

india Updated: Oct 29, 2006 18:11 IST

New IT revolution has just started in India, with the government embarking upon an ambitious project to connect all the schools, colleges and universities and provide an Internet enabled computer connection to each teacher in the country.

At the sidelights of a preview of the complete education portal, Sakshat on Sunday, Secretary Education Sudeep Banerjee, said, the government has already decided to provide free Internet connection to five lakh university and college teachers.

"A decision in this regard has been taken by the University Grants Commission," he said. The government has also decided to give them interest free loan to purchase computers. The decision will cost the exchequer Rs 50 crore per annum.

To ensure that even students in government schools can learn from the web, the government has also decided to connect schools and provide Internet facility in 700 cities and towns of the country. "We will implement both the plans before end of this year," Banerjee asserted.

The larger canvass is envisaged from next year when government plans to give a computer with Internet connection to each government schoolteacher and 50 Internet kiosks in each secondary level school.

But, there are some issues for which the government appears to have found answers. The Indian Institute of Sciences is developing a $50 computer whereas research is on in IITs for a $10 computer.

On another constraint of limitations of optical fibre connectivity, the government has planned high-speed Internet signal through satellite, said NK Sinha, Joint Secretary, in-charge of distance education.

The project, a joint effort of HRD ministry, Information Technology ministry, Telecom ministry and ministry of Earth Sciences under the proposed National Mission on Information Technology, is likely to be completed in five years.

HRD ministry will provide content for education through Sakshat portals, to be launched on Monday by President APJ Abdul Kalam, the IT and Telecom ministry will look into the connectivity issues whereas ministry of Earth Sciences will be putting up one lakh IT kiosks in rural India.

"We believe that within three years results will start pouring with improved learning standards in remote parts of the country," Sinha said.

To ensure maximum reach of Sakshat, Sinha said different educational institutions would develop their own version of the portals with 'definite' local influence and study material in regional languages.

Already, four Sakshat portals by IGNOU, NIC, ERNET and Universities has been developed. "We will exchange good practices of any Sakshat portal with others for a continuous improvement in the teaching quality of the portal," he said, estimating that 50 crore Indians will get connected through Sakshat in the next five years.

Email chetan@hindustantimes.com

First Published: Oct 29, 2006 17:25 IST