The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Northeast looks south for e-learning

Chennai, Sept. 8: The Tamil Nadu model for computer education in higher secondary schools has caught the fancy of the northeastern states, particularly Assam, Manipur and Tripura.

Tamil Nadu's Computer Education in Schools project, launched in 1999, will complete five years soon and the northeastern states are eager to learn its recipe for success. 'They want us to go there as consultants,' said state information technology secretary Vivek Harinarayanan.

The interest shown by the Northeast has prompted the Jayalalithaa government to organise a national platform to showcase the state's achievements in this sector over the past five years.

The government has invited delegates from more than 500 schools across the country to participate in the two-day national conference on Computer Education in Schools from September 24.

'We thought why not have a larger platform so that the best aspects of our model and experiences can be shared with all,' Harinarayanan said.

Delegations from 10 countries, including the Saarc nations, have been invited, too.

A senior official of the information technology department said the conference would not only enable the state to 'share our experiences and achievements with other states, but also exchange ideas so that a national model for computer education in schools can be developed'.

Tamil Nadu has a unique 'public-cum-private partnership model' for computer education in higher secondary schools. Private companies such as NIIT and Aptech installed the hardware and software, and provided teaching staff, while the government arranged for infrastructure, Harinarayanan said.

The computer education programme has covered all 1,197 higher secondary schools in the state.

The Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu, which works closely with the IT industry, has been handling the initiative in terms of designing the curricula and monitoring the programme, company chief Sudip Jain said.

Involving private players in computer education in schools has several advantages because they possess the flexibility to update hardware and software, he said.

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