Forty-five thousand classrooms in more than 4,000 schools across Kerala will turn hi-tech by March 2018 with 60,250 laptops and 43,750 multimedia projectors ready for disbursement.
The cost of this project is estimated to be Rs 493.50 crore. However, the final price received for the same after the tender is Rs 228.04 crore, excluding taxes. In an interview with IANS, K Anvar Sadath, Vice Chairman, Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE), said,
"These will be distributed in three phases with the first one in January, the second one in February, and by March, each and every of the 45,000 classrooms will turn into a hi-tech one."
The laptops will be pre-loaded with Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) operating system in lieu of proprietary software, where the latter would have cost Rs 1.50 lakh in each machine as an additional expense. Through this initiative, the state exchequer will effectively save up to Rs 900 crore.
To enable smooth functioning of these schools, the schools will not be liable for maintenance of these machines. Further, the laptops and projectors will have a five-year comprehensive warranty for the first time in India. Anvar further said,
"KITE would set up the call centre and web portal for addressing the issues reported from schools. If any issue reported from schools remains unresolved within the stipulated time, a penalty of Rs 100 per day would be levied on the respective companies."
Along with the hi-tech classrooms, the Kerala education department also announced the holistic intervention of information and communication technologies (ICT) that will assist education in 9,279 schools. Students of class one to seven, through IT@School Project, will be benefited in the new academic year starting in June. Talking about this initiative, Kerala Education Minister C Raveendranath said,
"The scaling up of ICT-enabled education in classrooms is a major step in achieving the educational goal of the government with respect to its General Education Rejuvenation Mission. Computer labs and smart classrooms would be set-up in all schools."
With inputs from IANS.