IIT-B students are making conscientious efforts to use technology for the betterment of the society. The annual 3-day festival of Techfest is being used as the platform to propagate the use of technology by the common man to bring about watershed changes in the society. The festival for a change has transmogrified from being a showcase of robots and humanoids to be an initiative by the students to take technology to remote villages of the nation.
Anuraj Gupta, media coordinator for Techfest said,” Our aim is to democratise the internet and the technology space for people in the most inaccessible parts of the country. Students at the university are using all their knowledge and expertise to bring about social change.”
“Internet for all” is one of the biggest projects undertaken by the students. The project is set in a connectivity vehicle and in the first phase that commenced in May about 60-70 IIT-B students travelled from Mumbai to Delhi. These students carried with them some 15-20 tablets containing latest science and technology exhibitions to inspire rural children. In the second phase that began in August, some 48 villages across the country were covered that included 30 schools in the hinterland of Maharashtra.
Alishaya Jain, the student coordinator of the initiative and who is pursuing mechanical engineering at the institute said,” The idea was to introduce students in remotest parts of the country to the digital space. We showed them videos and graphics that can make their everyday studies more interesting and engaging.”
The third phase of the programme would include students sharing the data gathered during the tours with the Nehru Science Centre (NSC) in order to develop a digital curriculum for these schools. Also the students of IIT-B would take the help of the NSC to provide internet to the villages covered.
Another initiative taken is the effort to improve the transparency and accountability in various government departments. In order to achieve that the students have organized a competition ‘Manifest’ under this year’s Techfest. Participants would be selecting a government portal out of six choices that include municipal services, HRD, registration department rules, law ministry and health and family welfare.
In the part one an abstract would have to be written on the plan to improve the website of that department and in the part two talks with the concerned officials would be conducted with the help of the mentors provided by the institute and coding for the ideal website. In addition to this the festival also has events such as cyclathon for health awareness.
Mr. Devang Khakhar the director of IIT-B said,” These initiatives show that the student community is still very close to real issues. At least 3000 students attend the Techfest everyday who can all contribute to these initiatives.”