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India rural schools get broadband-connected

Posted: 11 Sep 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:India rural education  broadband  wireless 

Qualcomm Inc. and the Azim Premji Foundation announced an initiative that will advance Web-enabled educational content and provide wireless broadband access to rural and government-run schools in India.

In its pilot phase, the initiative will connect close to forty government-run schools in underserved communities across four states—Gujarat, Karnataka, Orissa and Rajasthan. The project is aimed at impacting government schools through provision of wireless broadband technologies and facilitates enriched learning experiences for students through engaging Web-enabled and regionalised/contextualised educational content that can be easily updated and disseminated broadly.

The foundation's vision to significantly contribute to achieve universal education as a fundamental right for every child finds common ground with Qualcomm's desire to empower education in rural communities by using advanced wireless technologies through its Wireless Reach initiative. Both organisations believe that wireless technology has the potential to be a catalyst for development, changing mindsets and promoting access to quality education that is fundamental to India's emergence as a developed nation.

"Qualcomm believes wireless technology is the most efficient and economic way to connect underserved communities and provide access to quality education and we are pleased to be working with Azim Premji Foundation," said Paul Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm. "Through our Wireless Reach initiative, this project will expand access to education in these communities and demonstrate our commitment to the people of India."

"We believe that technologically enabled, modern classrooms have enormous potential to contribute to quality in all government schools, especially in rural India," said Azim Premji, chairman of Wipro and founder of Azim Premji Foundation. "We are excited to work with Qualcomm and to leverage its technological expertise and experience in similar projects across the world."

Azim Premji Foundation is currently engaged in piloting and developing a 'proof of concept' that can act as a catalyst for systemic change in India's 13 lakh government-run schools. Among other actions, the Foundation considers new and innovative information and communication technologies tools as important in contributing to quality and widely explores the use of information technology to support learning processes in schools.

Qualcomm's Wireless Reach initiative aims to empower communities that have limited or no telecommunications access through the use of 3G technologies, which will help contribute to long-term socio-economic development.

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