Education Embodied

The education system in India has undergone many reforms leaving behind orthodox methods and moving ahead with more qualitative output, building the youth self efficient for representation at global arena. One such recent initiative is to aid education by providing an elaborated access to IT Education and promote computer literacy in rural areas by connecting the rural youth with ongoing technological boom, by policy *** device named “sakshat”. It aims at imparting education using ‘e-learning’ and ‘e-books’. This method was first adapted in schools of Singapore with aim of providing more interactive learning via an i-pad which resulted in replacing books…….sounds more of like paper saving campaign. Few years back few years back the government’s aim was to make Mumbai similar to shanghai……..A big flop show! Let’s see will this new scheme “sakshat” able to set new trends in education of India and its impact on Techno world.
“Sakshat” is Sanskrit derived Hindi word which means “before your eyes”. The union of HRD Ministers took this word for their upcoming program of introducing the world’s first advanced and the cheapest Tablet-laptop hybrid i-pad students studying at all levels. Till now we have heard what Sakshat is for, let’s discover more about it and have a sneak-peek into this device.
Sakshat is basically a hand held computer that has the capability of performing most of operations of standard Personal Computer. Its main concept has been derived from tablet computing devices. It was introduced in India during NATIONAL MISSION ON EDUCTION PROGRAME (2009) organized by HRD Ministry and its prototype on 22 July 2010 by Mr. Kapil Sibbal.
The distribution of this device is meant for students studying at various levels and then to common people at a subsidized rate ranging from 1100 to 2200. The overall concept of this deice came from a Canadian firm “Datawind Ltd” further assisted by prestigious institutions of India like IIT & IISc. IIT Rajasthan is leading the way with development and testing of this device.
“Sakshat” is a very attractive device with expected 5710 inch touch screen with inbuilt keyboard. The weight of this device is expected to be of 2-3Kg with an outer casing of device composed of smooth rubber matte finishing. The appearance of this device is more of like an i-pad, with features similar to Laptop and Tablet PC. It works on Arnoid based system with features like USB host, USB port 2.0, and HDMI port along with other multimedia ports. It has a RAM of 2GB, with inbuilt hard drive of 32GB and supports an external hard drive of 32GB. The device even has a SIM slot for 3G functions and SD slot expandable up to 8GB. The device is Wi-Fi enabled with Fixed Ethernet security. The video conference facility via a 2MP webcam , advanced multimedia support system and projector display are the main attraction of this device , that are adding an enigmatic charm to this device. Further the device supports Open Office, SciLab, internet and java based applications. The energy consumption of this device is 2watt and has a solar charging option.

For large scale production of this device HCL was given contract through an open bid but later HCL withdrew its hands back on financial issues with Indian government. HCL demanded 600 million rupees in bank guarantee funds instead the government has provided only 6.5 million dollars for mail line production of I-pad and didn’t agreed on HCL’s Bank Guarantee Funds. Thus , the previous bid was dissolved and contract was provided to a new company. The expected date of release of this device was june-july 2011 but was reschedule to October 5,2011.
The controversy is not only related to production and contract problems ,the further issues like cost uncertainty , design format make the situation worse. The Chinese company “Hivision” claims Sakshat I-pad to be duplicate of its SpeedPad-PWS700HA”&”PWS700FS. This controversy has made blemish on the most trusted institutes IIT and IISc and they claim Sakshat i-pad to be their own innovation. The fluctuating estimation of cost makes its further confusing. However in spite of all the controversy yhe worlds leading OS provider Microsoft has offered ‘windows-CE’ to this device and Google is in further negotiation with government.
On overall analysis of this device, if it is implemented successfully it might mark a great milestone in history of computing not only in India but also around the world. For most of people it would be a dream come true to have a heavy feature loaded device at a very cheap rate, maybe it’s the gleaming side of this policy, just like the other side of the coin-on the darker side of the Sakshat the big picture is still in midst. Any sort of presumptions and large expectations from this device would be like running after mirage in desert that would lead to hollowness and futility.

ar93 ar93 18-21, M Jan 21, 2012

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