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Karnataka, India Plans to Launch Technology Schools

The Karnataka Chief Minister, Basavaraj Bommai, recently announced the government plans to create ‘technology schools’ at the high school level. The initiative is part of the “Beyond Bengaluru” scheme where the state government aims to generate a talent pool in other cities of the state, enabling them to attract investments away from its capital, leading to the equitable growth of Karnataka. According to a news report by the Hindustan Times, a significant number of the world’s biggest corporations have a presence in Bengaluru and the administration wants investors to consider expanding operations to other parts of the state.

The Chief Minister stated that there had been a technology school in the city of Hubli back in 1960, which was later closed. Now, there is a need to develop technology schools considering that perception ability is greater during childhood. He added that Atal Tinkering Labs, under the government’s Atal Innovation Mission, should be upgraded and artificial intelligence (AI) must be deployed in its systems. He said that Polytechnics institutes need to be upgraded as well.

The Minister for Information Technology/Biotechnology and Science and Technology announced that a centre of excellence (CoE) for AI and Date Engineering will be set up soon in Hubli. Karnataka intends to be the first in the country to implement the National Education Policy (NEP), which aims to ready students as per global technological developments. For this, coding will be taught to the students at the schools. The government has brought in effective policies to promote innovative technologies and the duration of the internship has risen from 3 weeks to 30 weeks. Students will also be given the opportunity to apply for internships around the world.

The gap between learning and teaching is getting wider as government schools in the state, especially in rural areas, have not been able to compete with private educational institutions, adding to the problem of unemployment in states like Karnataka and other regions of the country. The Karnataka government restarted physical classes for school children after most of them lost a year without access to the Internet or other devices to benefit from online education.

Data shared by the Karnataka government in July showed that of the 9.3 million who have been accounted for, only about 6 million have smartphones and tablets and around 3 million do not have any access to electronic devices. Further, about 5 million students have access to the Internet while nearly 4 million students do not, rendering the exercise of online classes a redundant practice for these children, mostly from rural and backward regions of the state. In Bengaluru (rural, south, and north), 178,612 students have been accounted for out of the total of around 1.9 million. Of this, only about 1.3 million have a mobile number and 1.4 have access to smartphones or tablets. Only 1.3 million students have access to the Internet and at least 401,269 have no access.

Last month, to support the growth of emerging technologies in the state, the Karnataka government has inked three memorandums of association (MoA) worth IN₹100.52 crores (US$13.5 million). As OpenGov Asia had reported, the centres of excellence set up under these MoAs aim to nurture and facilitate researchers, academicians, start-ups, and the industry to develop technological frameworks, characterising ethical bindings and enabling the responsible deployment of AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) in areas like education, agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, and smart cities.

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