New Delhi: NIIT today achieved a significant milestone in its mission to take computer proficiency to the grass root levels, by imparting computer-based learning to 10 million students across India.
Through its `NIIT@School' program that offers computer education in Government and private schools, NIIT has been shaping the future of Indian students for over a decade now. NIIT's computer education movement, introduced for the first time in 371 Government schools in Tamil Nadu in 1999 through the Public Private Partnership model- now covers nearly 16,600 educational institutions across 18 States in the country. From Keylong (Himachal Pradesh), to Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu), and from Vandh (Gujarat) to Agartala (Tripura) the program spans the length and the breath of the country, reaching out to the students in the farthest and the remotest corners of India.
At an event held at the not-for-profit NIIT University campus in Neemrana to mark the 10 million milestone Mr. Kapil Sibal, Hon'ble Union Minister for Human Resource Development and Communications and IT, delivered the keynote address and felicitated outstanding students and teachers from across the country. Mr. Rajendra S Pawar, Chairman, NIIT, leading academicians, principals of various schools, bureaucrats and members of NIIT and NIIT University were also present on the occasion.
Mr. Sibal congratulated NIIT for its significant contribution in bridging the digital divide, by bringing the light of IT literacy into the lives of 10 million students. Sharing words of encouragement with students & teachers from Assam, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi NCR and other parts of India, Mr. Sibal said that the objective now is to take the 10 million number to many more millions—and touch the entire community of India's school going children.
Children recognised for their exemplary performance included - Mahasweta Kumar from Mangaldoi Govt Girls Higher Secondary School, Darrang, Assam, who is the National winner of MindChampions Academy 2011 (a joint initiative with Viswanathan Anand for developing young minds through Chess). Anirudh Iyengar from Pune was also felicitated for completing the first IGNOU certificate program in Chess as a mind booster.
Touching the 10 million student count, involved creating 23,936 hours of content, setting up 1,07,209 computer based learning nodes, selecting, training, certifying 3,96,449 computer teachers, across Government and Private schools. NIIT has indirectly made a positive contribution to the general development of the villages where children are being taught computers. These villages in remote locations now enjoy power supply, telephone and Internet connectivity.
The schools program is based on NIIT's founding vision of Bringing People and Computers Together – Successfully. The initiative showcases how advances in technology and innovations in learning can be effectively harnessed to bring computer education within the reach of all, thereby providing every student an opportunity to participate in India's transformation to a knowledge society.
Speaking on the role of technology-based education in shaping young minds, Mr Rajendra S Pawar, Chairman, NIIT said, "Reaching the ten millionth school student is a significant achievement. A good education is the foundation for a great future and we are proud to be involved in shaping the future of Indian school children.'
"NIIT is committed to making ICT enabled education more affordable and accessible by devising new ways of learning and technology deployment," added Mr. Pawar.
NIIT has been at the forefront of the global movement to bridge the digital divide, by bringing computer education to the doorsteps of children from all segments of society. The journey to empower 10 million students saw many significant milestones including initiatives like HIWEL (Hole-in-the-Wall) project that aims to take computers to underprivileged children. MindChampions Academy (MCA), a joint initiative of World Chess Champion Viswanthan Anand and NIIT to promote Chess in schools, set a new Guinness World Record in 2010 when 20,480 participants played Chess simultaneously, guided by Viswanathan Anand. NIIT's Schools program has received numerous recognitions during its journey, including the UNESCO award for innovation in education which led to the launch of Mobile Science Lab.
Mr. Hemant Sethi, President, School Learning Solutions & HiWEL, NIIT said, "NIIT has overcome every obstacle and crossed every divide, be it social or geographical, and has successfully reached out to school students across India through its ICT enabled education solutions. Today, we are proud to have empowered 10 million students. And as I look into the future, I can see the faces of another 10 million children, whose lives will be transformed by NIIT."