A South Indian State's EduTech Initiative Awarded for Innovations in Public Policy

The Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) under the General Education Department has won the Chief Minister’s Award for Innovations in Public Policy ahead of its fifth anniversary on Wednesday.

The award includes a citation and a cash prize of ₹5 lakh.

Setup as IT@School Project in the year 2000 for imparting IT education in State schools, KITE became a State government-owned company on July 20, 2017.

Since then, KITE has successfully implemented ICT projects to the tune of ₹800 crore, including the Hi-Tech School project through which 45,000 classrooms for Classes 8 to 12 were made high-tech; the Hi-Tech Lab project in 11,275 primary schools, and the Samagra resource portal.

On October 12, 2020, the Chief Minister declared Kerala the first State in the country to become completely digital in education. The savings of ₹3,000 crore made by the State by deploying free software in over 2 lakh laptops in schools also gained attention, a statement from KITE on Tuesday said.

KITE also functions as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for implementing KIIFB (Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board)-funded IT and infrastructure upgrade projects since its evolution from IT@School.

“KITE has completed 96% of the school infrastructure upgrade projects, including a ₹5-crore each project in 139 schools and a ₹3-crore each project in 93 schools,”

KITE Chief Executive Officer K. Anvar Sadath said.

Since 2017, KITE has won 15 awards, including nine national recognitions. Several ICT initiatives such as SchoolWiki, the largest ICT content repository in a local language in the country; KOOL, the State’s first official online course; eGovernance application for appointment approvals; staff fixation software; and that for online transfer and posting of teachers and State School Arts Festival; are also being undertaken by KITE.

The First Bell digital class was one of the programmes that bagged KITE the CM’s award. The First Bell classes were launched to ensure continuity in education for students during COVID-19. Over 18,000 digital classes were telecast on KITE Victers education channel, becoming a model in ICT-based education, the statement said.

The Little KITEs IT club network, with 3.57-lakh student members, is the largest ICT network of students in the country. Minister for General Education V. Sivankutty had recently announced that 9,000 robotic kits and 16,500 laptops would be deployed in schools this year.