Kerala gets a mention in the 2023 Global Education Monitoring Report published by UNESCO. The speaker of the Kerala Legislative Assembly appreciated the huge role played by SchoolWiki in strengthening Malayalam in digital media.
The SchoolWiki portal (www.schoolwiki.in) was first launched in 2009. Operating under the leadership of Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE), it has received mention as an international model under the title “Collaborative work will improve quality and diversity of content creation” in the report. The SchoolWiki has been prepared using the Wikimedia Foundation’s MediaWiki software and is designed in such a way that schools can register on the portal using their school code and upload their content. To promote collaborative learning, the portal has connected over 15,000 schools in Kerala. (KITE, n.d.)
Image: Kerala’s public schools
Since the content of the SchoolWiki portal is published on a common public platform, the school authorities are responsible for ensuring that no content has copyright issues. The education officials have also been tasked with inspecting schools. A model for conducting digital education in schools in Kerala using open-source software is presented under the title “Some countries have become champions of free software”. The report highlights the state government’s free software policy and notes that 2 million laptops equipped with the latest free applications have been distributed to schools in Kerala. The use of open-source software in digital education has attracted the attention of national and international agencies, including NITI Ayog. The project has helped Kerala save about Rs 3,000 crore. (The New Indian Express, 2023)
Apart from networking with more than 15,000 schools and documenting their past and present, the SchoolWiki KITE (Kerala Educational Technology and Infrastructure) project is playing a vital role in the growth of the Malayalam language in digital media. Around 47 lakh students have been introduced to Malayalam computer science through school education. SchoolWiki can highlight specific stories that help strengthen democracy. The SchoolWiki portal is the largest repository of information in all Indian languages. It contains information about schools, public school art festival creations, paintings, and digital magazines. (KITE, n.d.)
Image: Kerala school providing education through digital platform
SchoolWiki currently presents detailed information about schools in Kerala and provides an overview of basic school data, historical references, detailed geographical information, infrastructure, 4,444 famous alumni, School website, School map, blog, classroom magazine, classroom images, and videos. Produced entirely in Malayalam, SchoolWiki features 4,444 pieces of educational content created by students, teachers, alumni, and the public. In this way, SchoolWiki provides a platform for students, teachers, and schools to showcase their areas of excellence like no other portal.
Apart from this, Malayalam language analysis projects like “School Patram – [School Newsletter]”, “Nadodi Vijnanakoshan – [Local Encyclopedia]” and “Ente Nadu– [My Village]” were also featured on the portal. (PTI, 2016)
Over the years, SchoolWiki has won more than 10 Global and National awards, including the 2010 Stockholm Challenge Award and the 2020 Digital Technology Excellence Award. Also, in the UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report it is mentioned that Kerala is listed among the states with the highest internet connectivity in schools in India. (The New Indian Express, 2023)
Additionally, State Education Minister C. Raveendranath has also announced that the awards will be given to schools that use and maintain SchoolWiki most effectively. Earlier, V Sivan Kutty, Minister of School Education, had said that schools that update their pages on SchoolWiki in the best way will get Rs 1.5 lakh, Rs 1 Lakh, and Rs 75,000 respectively at the State level and Rs.15,000 and Rs.10,000 at the District level. The award’s scoring criteria are 20 points, including the accuracy of details in information boxes, images, navigation, school maps, clubs, etc. that have been published on the KITE website. (KITE, n.d.)
Overall, Kerala is becoming a leader in digital education by ensuring the effective use of textbooks, strengthening open-source software-based frameworks for mentoring, support, and setting up language laboratories. Other state governments may consider implementing this effort to enhance the quality of education provided in their schools.