August 4, 2003

Mega open source project rolled out in Madhya Pradesh

Werner Fernandes writes "Children in 2200 rural schools in Madhya Pradesh to grow up in a world of open source software. Rajiv Gandhi Shiksha Mission chooses Red Hat to bridge digital divide; rolls out biggest implementation of open source technologies in schools in the country.

INDIA - Bhopal:

August 2003: Red Hat India, a subsidiary of Red Hat Inc, the world's premier provider of open source technologies including Linux, recently announced that it has partnered with Madhya Pradesh government constituted Rajiv Gandhi Shiksha Mission (RGSM) under the HEADSTART programme to help bring computer-enabled education to the masses in Madhya Pradesh. The first phase of 2200 schools was rolled out last month. This makes it the biggest implementation of open source technologies in schools in the country to date.

RGSM's aim is to universalize access to elementary education and improve its quality. RGSM's Headstart is currently the country's largest computer-enabled education programme at the middle school level in rural India.

Red Hat has worked closely to ensure that all of RGSM's needs were met on the technical front. This included customization of Red Hat Linux for the largely Hindi-speaking audience. To ensure on-going support, Red Hat has set up a support center in Bhopal. To ensure that RGSM faculties were empowered to use Linux to its fullest, Red Hat conducted a training program for 6500 teachers across the State in an incredibly short duration of 60 days. It also trained its partner's system support engineers on its products.

Says Javed Tapia, Director-India, Red Hat, who is personally supervising this mammoth project, "Rajiv Gandhi Shiksha Mission has been extremely focussed on its
goal of using computers as an aid to learning and we at Red Hat have ensured that their goal can be achieved in a cost effective and time-bound manner with the
use of best open source technology. We are thrilled to see the first phase going operational today." He adds, "The use of open-source technologies in projects like Headstart will spur use of technology in the hitherto technology deprived masses.""

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