The much acclaimed 'IT@school' project of the Kerala government has now been promoted as a government company, Kerala Infrastructure and Technology company (KITE). Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, launched the logo of KITE at a function here yesterday. Though the prime objective of IT@School's transformation as a SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) Company named KITE was to avail the funding from Kerala Infrastructure And Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), the new decision gives more freedom and authority for the organization to leap frog further, a press release said. The hitherto scope of General Education Sector has now been extended further with KITE positioned to fuel ICT support to Higher Education sector also including Arts & Science, Engineering colleges and Universities. Incidentally, KITE is the first new SPV to be formed after the Nava Kerala Mission of the State Government commenced. IT@School was formed in 2001, as a Project under General Education Department, to inculcate IT activities in Higher school sections in the state. The first breakthrough of IT@School came in 2005 when Information Technology was made a compulsory subject in class 10. The launch of EDUSAT operations and broadband connectivity to schools commenced since then, the VICTERS channel operated by IT@School was the first Complete Educational Channel in the Country. By effectively making use of the Centrally-sponsored 'ICT at School' scheme, IT@School provided OCT infrastructure to 4071 schools during 2007-2012. Last year, IT@School re-initiated the ICT intervention in Lower Primary and Upper Primary sections, by launching exclusive ICT Textbooks viz; Kalipetti and e@Vidya. As many as 1.50 Lakh teachers from Std 1 to 12 have been empowered with ICT skills, enabling them to transact their subjects more effectively using ICT tools. IT@School amply supplemented the state government's Public Education Rejuvenation Mission with initiatives such as Samagra Content Portal, Sampoorna School Management software and SchoolWiki which connects 15,000 schools for collaborative content development process. A major recent highlight of IT@School was the 'Hi School Kuttikootam' programme under which over 1 lakh students are being provided specialised trainings in 5 different areas such as Animation, Cyber Safety, Hardware, Electronics and Malayalam computing. Through the transformation, KITE has now more scope and authority for implementing various ICT programmes, when compared to the earlier Project mode of operation. KITE has already started the implementation of Hi-Tech school programme of the Education Department, by which 45,000 classrooms in 4775 schools are being made Hi-Tech, for which KIFFB has already approved a funding of Rs 493.50 crores. Secretary of General Education Department, Usha Titus has been appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director of KITE while K Anvar Sadath, Executive Director of IT@School is the Vice Chairman and Executive Director, and K V Mohan Kumar, Director of Public Instruction is the Director Board Member. Under KITE, the existing wing of IT@School would be expanded for ICT initiatives in schools and colleges, while a dedicated wing would be formed for managing the Infrastructure development activities. "The new form of KITE would help in facilitating ICT enhancement in Higher Education sector also, by fully using Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) tools..
The activities of VICTERS channel would also be expanded under the new mechanism.. However IT@School would be retained as a brand name under KITE," Anvar Sadath said.
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