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Curriki’s India connection

Anand Parthasarathy

Congruent Solutions’ first open source curriculum site

— Photo: Special Arrangement

Congruent’s team provides engineering and content conversion services for the Curriki’s global educational portal.

Bangalore: What do you do when you want to replicate the encyclopedic knowledge-sharing features of Wikipedia within a Web resource that will hopefully provide universal access to free curricula and study material for children everywhere from kindergarten to Standard 12? You call it Curriki.

And if you are Scott McNeally, Chairman and driving force of Sun Microsystems, champion of free-and-open computing environment, you pump in a few million dollars of your personal money to kick-start the project, then step aside, leaving the world’s top educationists to give your vision a practical form and shape.

Conceived as an online repository of tools and aids that will make learning possible for any one, anywhere in the world, Curriki ( www.curriki.org) has been up and running for a few months now.

Hundreds of volunteers, teachers, students and subject experts have donated their time and talent to enrich the portal and quickly transform it into a formidable educational resource. Admittedly, the initial offerings are skewed somewhat towards the U.S. K-12 (Kindergarten to Standard XII) system, but users in other places — including India — are learning about the site and localising it.

What most of these users may not know is Curriki’s India connection from Day One: When The Global Education and Learning Community, the body that became Curriki, first took on the task, it associated two specialist agencies to help realise its dream: XWiki, authors of the software platform to help create the Wiki structure — and the Chennai-based Congruent Solutions, a respected name in e-learning solutions to help with the engineering aspects, quality assurance and content conversion.

On Saturday, Congruent’s president and co-founder, Bala J. Raman, spoke to The Hindu to explain what exactly the company has been doing.

“This is a portal where hundreds of lay users and teachers will be uploading material. They cannot be expected to have the same tools and computers at their end. Congruent has to ensure that no matter what format they use, the material can be added in a uniform manner... and in reverse users should be able to download material in a format of their choice. Our engineers in Chennai wrote hundreds of routines to make this happen. We also helped bring together local experts to contribute material that will be useful to Indian users .. as well as sharing the best of Indian knowledge.”

Partnership

That may be why a Curriki search throws up such a rich set of resources on subjects as varied as Vedic mathematics and Gandhigiri! Congruent and Curriki seem set for fulfilling partnership aimed at creating the best if not the biggest educational resource.

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