In their recent initiative, Nabarangpur, one of the poorest district of India based ion Odisha has been offered a helping hand by IIT-Bombay.
The institute has offered free audio-visual tutorial-based training in the district. The project enables the use of spoken tutorials to teach free and open source software in regional languages at three different levels of expertise: beginner, intermediate and advanced. If the initiative takes off successfully, those who complete these courses may even be able to purchase specially developed laptops priced at around Rs 7,500.
“We have got in touch with the district administration about this. The project will help students get better marks in examinations and increase employment avenues,” IIT-Bombay’s Prof Kannan M Moudgalya, who is spearheading the initiative, told The Indian Express.
According to a media report, Of the 32 students who cleared their two-year electronics-mechanical certificate course last year at the ITI in Umerkote, 60 km from the district headquarters, only three landed jobs. The major part of tribals are from an extremely backward belt. Most of them are equipped with a weak basic education. The IIT-Bombay project includes audio-video demonstrations dubbed in local languages and targets schoolchildren, college students, working and retired professionals, housewives, teachers, trainers, research scholars, and software users and developers. The courses, training, day-to-day guidance and certificates under the project named FOSSEE — an acronym for Free Open Source Software for Education — are available free of cost, said Prof Moudgalya.
The tutorials were launched in July 2011 and is currently deployed nationwide in degree colleges, polytechnics, ITIs and even schools, NGOs, government offices and some corporates. The training is done using a website that is a hub of tutorial classes, coupled with original software of programming, animation, graphics, EDA (electronic design automation) tools, computational software, utility software, software for schools students and others. The users have to select and download the software, install it and start practicing.