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IT@School Project to conduct Public Awareness programme

Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After successfully popularising free software in Kerala's schools, the IT@School Project of the Education Department has given shape to a State-wide awareness campaign aimed at exposing the everyday computer user to the possibilities and advantages of using Linux-based software.

In the first phase of this campaign, one-day workshops will be held across the State during the summer months. Resource persons of the IT@School Project will demonstrate how there is a free software alternative to each and every computer application that an average user requires on a daily basis.

In the next phase of the programme, such workshops will be held across the State every Saturday and Sunday. The Student IT Coordinators in each school will be tasked with organising free software popularisation sessions in their institutions to offer the local community Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) installation support and trouble-shooting services. This endeavour will be modelled on the FOSS outreach drive initiated by KPES High School, Kayakkodi, Kozhikode.

The first phase of these one-day training sessions will kick off in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod on April 23. The workshops will feature sessions on the use and benefits of GNU/Linux, scope of Open Office packages, Malayalam typing, multimedia packages, image editing, sound recording, video editing and GNU/Linux installation. The participants of this training programme will be provided a resource DVD with free software applications. There will be a nominal registration fee of Rs. 50 for each participant.

“The aim is to gradually extend the facilities available in schools during holidays for imparting free software-based ICT training to parents and the general public with the help of Student IT Club members. This process will facilitate effective usage of students and resources at schools such as computer labs and peripherals, and also will result in creating better harmony between students, parents and also the general public. The help of institutions/organisations that work in the FOSS arena would also be sought for this, project executive director Anvar Sadath said.

The IT@School Project — often seen as the technology arm of Education Department — claims to be the “largest simultaneous deployment” of FOSS-based ICT education. Mr. Sadath pointed out to The Hindu that every year an estimated 50 lakh students in the State derive the benefit of FOSS-based ICT education.

The Project, which primarily focussed on Teacher Empowerment programmes, commenced its student training programmes from this academic year. As part of this, 22,375 Student School IT Co-ordinators (SSITCs) received training in ICT-specific skills during the last Onam vacation.

Similarly, 51,790 School IT Club members were trained during the last Christmas holidays. Following this, there were several requests from the public to extend these trainings to them, Mr. Sadath added.

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