Children in Kerala will enjoy high quality computer science education as the state government has taken a very useful step to ensure that both government as well as aided schools are able to provide better computer science education to the students. This, they are doing with the help of advanced technology like the Raspberry Pi kits for children. Here’s more.
The Kerala government has launched two school-projects with the aim of teaching basic computer science to students in a better manner.
These are the ‘Learn to Code’ project, which is in the second phase of execution, and the ‘Electronics@School’ project which was launched this Saturday.
Photo Credit: Esme Vos/Flickr
The ‘Learn to Code‘ project was launched in February by the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. In the pilot phase of the project, 2,500 selected students of class eight were given Raspberry Pi kits and were trained in programming by IT experts.
The Raspberry Pi is a computer developed by an UK-based firm to help in the teaching basic computer science at schools.
It is a low cost, credit card sized computer, which gets plugged into a display unit (like a monitor or TV), and uses a simple keyboard and mouse for operation.
Photo Credit: Clive Darra/Flickr
It performs the basic functions of a desktop and can be used for things like word processing, playing games and watching videos. It can also be used for internet surfing besides helping children learn programming in languages like Scratch and Python. Each kit costs Rs. 4,324 and includes a Raspberry Pi B+ board, enclosure, 8GB SD card, HDMI cable, HDMI-to-VGA cable, USB keyboard and USB mouse.
The project is being implemented by the Technopark Technology Business Incubator (TTBI) in association with Kerala’s IT@School project, and Kochi-based mobile internet technology incubator Startup Village. The complete project aims to distribute 10,000 kits to selected students annually, and that will be followed by training and mentorship sessions.
“We require skilled employees for India to become a manufacturing powerhouse, who can build products for industries such as electronics and ICT. To build these products, we need excellent coders and they are the key to building startups which will turn into billion dollar companies,” IT Principal Secretary P.H. Kurian said.
During the inauguration of the ‘Electronics@School’ project, the Chief Minister said that 10,000 students will be selected on the basis of merit and they will get the Raspberry Pi kits. Other than that, the government will take steps to provide these kits to every government and aided school to help in common coding practice. The second phase of the project was flagged off with the distribution of these kits to 7,500 schoolchildren.
Under Electronics@School project, kits for hands-on training in basic electronics will be provided to selected children. The kit is based on the simple concept of puzzle solving that helps students understand electronics through a trial and error method. Thus, children can make simple electronic items.
“This year government will distribute 6,000 Electronics kit to various Schools across the State. The Electronics Kit is aligned with the Physics curriculum of classes 9 and 10”, said state Minister for IT and Industries P K Kunhalikkutty.
A coding competition was also conducted in the first stage of the ‘Learn to Code’ project; the awards for which was given during the inauguration. The Education Minister PK Abdu Rabb also said that both the ‘Learn to Code’ and ‘Electronics@School’ projects would be made part of the curriculum.
The Raspberry Pi kit distribution is the first such project in India and currently the only state-sponsored programme of its kind in the world.