Project to ensure Internet connectivity for all students

Committee to prepare action plan within four days

A time-bound project will be drawn up to ensure Internet connectivity across the State to facilitate online education for all students, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said.

A committee, with the Information Technology Principal Secretary as convener and comprising representatives of telecom service providers and department Secretaries concerned, will prepare an action plan within four days.

The Chief Minister was speaking at a meeting of Internet service providers here on Thursday.

He said that with children forced to depend on online education against the backdrop of COVID-19, it was necessary to ensure all educational tools for them. Each child should be provided with high-speed Internet supply and gadgets such as laptop and tablet.

Tribal areas

Lack of Internet connectivity in some pockets, especially in tribal areas, was a matter of huge concern. There were 86,243 Scheduled Tribe students in the State. Of them, 20,493 lacked Net connectivity, hampering access to online classes. Connectivity would be ensured on a war-footing in tribal settlements that lacked it, he said.

High-speed Internet without any rural-urban divide was necessary to provide interactive online classes wherein teachers and students could communicate with each other. For this, FTTH (fibre-to-the-home)/broadband connections should be made available wherever possible. Along with that, mobile towers should be erected to provide Wi-Fi connections. The work in this connection should be completed in a time-bound manner.

Bridging divide

The government, the Chief Minister said, was committed to ensuring online education for all without being bothered by digital divide. Children belonging to low-income families should be provided with free Internet. For online education to be fruitful, all children should be able to access low-cost Internet.

With a third wave of COVID-19 transmission expected, online education looked here to stay, at least for some time. In such a situation, Internet service providers should prepare a special scheme to provide uninterrupted Internet to all students for free, he said.

The support of Internet providers would be a huge boost to the government, Mr. Vijayan said.

Various Ministers, Chief Secretary, IT Principal Secretary, Chief Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, and department Secretaries attended the meeting.

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