The State government has broad-based the Students Internet World Scheme — under which students in standards seven to nine in chosen rural government schools are provided hands-on training on using computers as well as various Internet applications — by increasing the number of students to be trained this year to four lakh.
Announcing this at a press conference here on Tuesday, IT and BT Minister S.R. Patil said that earlier this scheme was operational only in schools located around cities and prominent towns. However, the government had decided to take it to remote areas also, in a bid to spread computer literacy in villages.
Under the scheme, each student would be trained for three days. About 400 centres, which are mostly computer laboratories in colleges, have been chosen for training the schoolchildren, he said.
The programme was being taken up jointly with Intel Technology India Pvt. Limited which has developed the training software, he said.
The main intention was to ensure that every household in the State had a computer literate in the years to come. Spreading computer literacy would not only open up different opportunities in jobs but also go a long way in ensuring transparency in administration and making e-governance a success, he said.
Pointing out that the Union government has taken up a programme for providing broadband connectivity to all village panchayats, he said that focussing on taking computer literacy to rural areas would help utilise various opportunities to be provided by broadband connectivity.
Intel Technology India Pvt. Limited country manager-education Anil Misquith said that the process of providing elementary training in computers and Internet applications would open up a wide range of opportunities for children. It would also help in online education, he noted.
Taking exception to Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s allegations that the country’s IT sector’s robust growth had seen a slump under the United Progressive Alliance government rule, Mr. Patil said that “technically it was not proper to compare the growth rate of the IT sector under the National Democratic Alliance government and the UPA regime as the growth was higher during the NDA regime mainly because the base was small.”
“The growth will reduce as the base increases, but the revenue and exports have increased, more than earlier. But I want to tell everyone that the growth rate of the sector in the State is still ruling high at 40 per cent,” he said.
Terming Mr. Modi’s remarks as “mere criticism for the sake of criticism,” Mr. Patil said that he would choose to rather ignore such criticism and focus on his work.
Mr. Patil said that scientist C.N.R. Rao had urged him and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to encourage science and technology.
“We will take steps to implement the suggestion given by the scientist who has been chosen for the country’s highest civilian award,” he said, while endorsing Prof. Rao’s view that science was yet to get due encouragement from the government.