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Kerala revises guidelines for schools to procure IT devices

The Kerala state government in India has published revised guidelines for the procurement of tech equipment in schools and educational offices.

The guidelines were released after approving the recommendation of the technical committee under the General Education Department.

According to media reports, the price benefits through bulk procurement from the national tender published by the Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) for a hi-tech lab project for primary schools were considered.

KITE is the first SPV (special purpose vehicle) of the state’s Education Department.

IT equipment in the revised guidelines include laptops, projectors, USB speakers, projector mounting kits, and LED televisions. Laptops need to be installed in schools considering their portability, power backup, and minimal power consumption features.

The distributors have to demonstrate the working of the equipment before the headmaster and IT coordinator at the time of delivery of the equipment at schools.

Details such as the installation date, warranty period, contact details of the firm, and personnel for service have to be displayed on all devices. Also, the schools are required to display the list of equipment received under each scheme, year, and source of funds.

The firms which supply the equipment should ensure the number for a call centre is available and a web portal address is provided for registering the complaints. The complaints reported have to be attended within two days and need to be closed within five working days.

The guideline also lists the details of ICT equipment essential for a hi-tech/smart classroom. Equipment such as desktop computers, interactive whiteboards, and smart televisions should not be supplied to schools using government funds.

FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) has been made mandatory in schools and offices. The academic vetting of digital contents of any form has been made compulsory.

The revised guidelines also provide a five-year comprehensive warranty for all equipment. Also, a call centre and web portal are mandatory for registering complaints.

KITE will develop an online stock register for all schools and institutions.

Earlier this month, KITE equipped 9,941 lower primary and upper primary schools with hi-tech labs under the Hi-Tech programme.

As OpenGov reported, the project was inaugurated in July and by August already over 80% of it had been completed. KITE has made arrangements to supply the equipment to the remaining schools by the end of this month.

Through the Hi-Tech school programme 45,000 classrooms (grades 8 to 12) were made hi-tech, under the Public Education Rejuvenation Mission of the State government.

55,086 laptops and USB speakers along with 23,170 multimedia projectors plan to be deployed at the primary schools in the first phase. By August-end, KITE had distributed 37,842 laptops, 32,225 USB speakers, and 13,513 projectors.

Last week, KITE announced a programme to train mothers of students in technology with the high-tech facilities set up in schools.

During the training programmes, the parents will be introduced to more resources in the textbooks by scanning QR codes, familiarised with the new classroom learning process, and learn how to use KITE’s Samagra resource portal.

The project will start next month. One of the main objectives is to ensure the better use of smartphones at home, for example, to encourage students to use educational apps and websites.

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