Project on IT upgradation in schools makes no headway in Gujarathttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/project-on-it-upgradation-in-schools-makes-no-headway-in-gujarat/

Project on IT upgradation in schools makes no headway in Gujarat

The Gujarat government recently grabbed headlines for connecting villages through broadband technology.

The Gujarat government recently grabbed headlines for connecting villages through broadband technology. On the other hand,the Gujarat Informatics Ltd (GIL),the nodal agency for IT development in the state,and the departments of science & technology,and education,are still struggling to put in place the ambitious IT upgradation project in schools.

For the last four months,the state departments are busy changing specifications and putting up corrigenda on their websites. The authorities are also yet to decide on the operating system for the computers. The IT Department wants free and open source software (FOSS),while the Education Department is eager for Microsoft.

A source from an IT company which took part in the pre-bid meetings,said: “GIL has been asking for specifications,which have become obsolete. The government is not clear about what it wants.”

In fact,one of the tenders,which was put up on the website,has now been scrapped.

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The GIL official responsible for tenders,said on the condition of anonymity: “The tender for procurement of 90,000 computers for primary schools has been scrapped for unknown

administrative reasons.”

He added: “We have,however, awarded NIIT and Educomp with contracts for providing education-based learning solutions and maintenance of PCs for 4,500 secondary schools.”

The Gujarat government had earlier told Newsline that it was going for a massive IT upgradation in schools,which will include procurement of 1,50,000 computers, educational software,and school management software.

The two departments – science and technology,and education – have not yet been able to come to a consensus on the issue of the operating system to be used in these computers. To decrease the cost,the government wants to go for the free and open source software (FOSS).

“There are 300 different FOSS operating systems available in the market. But there is no clarity as to which one the government will choose,” said the official.

Incidentally,the government had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with software giant Microsoft to set up institutes for training teachers in IT. But the government is not clear as to how teachers trained in Microsoft products will be able to teach students in schools,which will use open source software.

Despite repeated attempts,GIL Managing Director Raj Kumar could not be reached for comments. The secretaries of education as well as science and technology were also not available.

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