Kerala arms its teachers with laptops, netbooks at compelling prices

09th January 2011
Kerala arms its teachers with laptops, netbooks at compelling prices
Kerala kids at their school computers

The IT@School Project of Government of Kerala has launched a programme to provide laptops and netbooks to 50,000 teachers in the State, at almost a third of market rates, thanks to a bulk deal. The Project had earlier negociated for the procurement of 10,000 laptops and 18,000 netbooks under its ICT scheme for schools through a national tendering process undertaken by its service provider KELTRON.
Teachers will now benefit from the rates achieved through this process -- Rs 17,770 for a laptop (including 3-year warranty which includes the battery and power adapter) and a netbook at Rs 11,450.
The Laptops are powered with processors ranging from Celeron M 900 to Pentium Dual Core, and come with 2 GB DDR 3 RAM, a 160 GB Hard Disc, Integrated DVD RW, Integrated Wireless Facility and a minimum backup of 2 hours. The Netbooks, powered by the Intel Atom N455@1.66 GHz come with 1 GB DDR3 RAM, a 160 GB Hard disc, integrated Wireless Facility with a backup time of up to 6 hours. Three companies were selected for the supply of Laptops for this scheme after the techno-commercial tender, which included Wipro, HCL and RP Infosystems, while the latter two qualified for the supply of Netbooks as well.   The laptop models are: HCL MES1 Wipro EGO and RPInfosystems' Chirag  PowerPlay 14 D 22. The suppliers will provide  support through a call center & web portal facility. The laptops and netbooks will be pre-loaded with IT@School Edu Ubuntu, various office packages, graphics applications, educational software etc.
Till 2010, over 7500 laptops have been provided to various schools in the Kerala as part of the “ICT in Schools” scheme. This year 8000 Laptops and 6000 Netbooks would be provided to the schools in the state.
This scheme would benefit all Head Masters / Principals and Teachers from the Government Schools and Aided Schools in the State who wish to buy a laptop/ netbook to fuel ICT enabled education. This scheme would be open to 50,000 teachers on a first come first serve basis, up to a maximum of 4000 per district. 
"There have been constant requests from the teachers as well as Teacher’s Organisations that laptops may be provided to the teachers at lower rates, so that they are well equipped to make use of ICT in their teaching process. We are sure that this new scheme of providing laptops/netbooks to teachers would create new waves in the educational scenario of the State”, says K.Anvar Sadath, Executive Director, IT@School Project.  Jan 9 2011