Kochi: Chief Minister, Shri Oommen Chandy today reiterated his vision of a ‘Digital Kerala’ leading India’s technology sector, as more than 2,500 schoolchildren across the State were given Raspberry Pi computer kits and encouraged to start coding under a first-of-its-kind education project in the country.
The CM formally launched the ‘Learn to Code’ programme today by handing over the first of the thousands of Raspberry Pi kits that were distributed simultaneously to selected Class VIII students in all 14 districts of the State.
The State-level function held at North Paravur in Ernakulam was telecast live to thousands of schools via the Victers education channel. IT and Industries Minister, Shri P K Kunhalikutty addressed the audience via video link from Malappuram and Education Minister, Shri P K Abdu Rabb from Kasaragod.
The CM said the idea of ‘Digital Kerala’ was not just that of a technology powerhouse built on IT education and entrepreneurship, but a governance system that brought IT and enabled services, through panchayats and local bodies, right to the doorsteps of citizens.
The Raspberry Pi distribution is being implemented by the Technopark Technology Business Incubator (T-TBI) in association with Kerala’s IT@School project and Kochi-based mobile-internet technology incubator, Startup Village.
The Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer than can carry out most functions of a regular desktop besides allowing users to learn programming languages such as Scratch and Python.
The selected students will first be given basic training and encouraged to experiment with the Pi by trained faculty from IT@School. Focused coding sessions will start after the examinations in March. Starting April, each student will be assigned a mentor to guide them through the learning process.
The concept of the ‘Learn to Code’ was first introduced by Infosys co-founder, Kris Gopalakrishnan, a very strong supporter of Kerala’s technology initiatives, and taken up enthusiastically by the government.
Kris, who was present at the inaugural function, announced a programming competition for the schoolchildren who received the Raspberry Pi kits. The contest would start in April-May and will require the students to develop a programme or a computer game. The best programmer from each district will get a cash prize of Rs. 20,000 and the State-level winner will take home Rs 2,00,000.
Kerala IT News