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The Guiding Light

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DQI Bureau
New Update

The Student Knowledge Fora and Jawahar Knowledge Center project

is an initiative of the Andhra Pradesh government, aimed at improving the

quality of human resource with industry grade skills.

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The idea behind the project was to bring the best people with

the best infrastructure, guidance, content and opportunities to apply their

knowledge. With this intention, Student Knowledge Fora (SKF) has been initiated

in various colleges and Jawahar Knowledge Centers (JKC) have been promoted so

that there is at least one center in each district of the state.

Students who receive training through JKCs also propagate their

skills and know-how to several more students, thereby making this a powerful

propagator of skills. Jawahar Knowledge Centres offer the opportunity to

students to experiment and share their experiences with their peers outside the

confines of the classroom. "While students hope to add value to their

future, the center aims at adding future to its value," according to Prof.

C Subha Rao, former chairman, Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education.

The

project was initiated with the objective of promoting

industry-institute-government interaction and simultaneously, offering

opportunities to students, getting government projects done in a cost-effective

manner, and producing quality workforce for the industry. The other objectives

were to educate, to undertake research, to provide service to the community, to

reduce gender inequality by training women, to provide conducive environment for

learning, and to produce readily employable graduates by imparting industry

grade skills.

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So Much on Offer



The primary service of the project is that of capacity building, through

skill development, in thousands of people and students. The kind of applications

and systems such people are developing vary from information processing to

online transaction processing to sophisticated dash-boards with drill-down

capability to important functionaries such as district collectors. Some of the

applications involve good user interfaces based on flash, speech and videos. So

far, 70 computer applications covering a number of departments in the government

have been developed.

Several programs were conceived through this project. Some of

which are:

Female Student Campus Placement Mission (FSCPM): This

program is being offered for women empowerment and redressal of inequality in IT

as a profession. Over 1,074 students are participating in this endeavor to

produce high-end IT professionals. One has to contrast this with the total

number of women graduates coming out of all IITs, IIITs put-together. This

aspect alone makes this program significant.

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Government Services Online using JKCs: The Andhra Pradesh

government initiated a major program called RAJiv (Rajiv Internet Village).

Through this program, various government services have to be made available

online to the citizens. It requires the development and maintenance of

departmental e-governance applications with local know-how and handholding the

government staff. Systems study of several departments will be taken up. Over

200 applications were identified. Detailed specifications are being prepared.

Their development, deployment and replication in other districts are all

planned.

Teacher Training: With the support from the various

universities and Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education (APSCHE), a

massive teacher-training program is planned. Through this, as many as 10,000

teachers are expected to be trained using the resources of JKCs.

Capacity Building and Training of Government Employees: The

state government has been actively promoting the cause of computer literacy for

all its employees. A major program is underway, whereby about 4000 government

employees are being trained in computer skills using JKCs.

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Animation Studios: Computer animation industry was

identified as one of the potential areas for employment opportunities to a large

number of people.

Fruits of Success



The project is well on track and has been achieving its objectives. Over 40

companies and 32 academic institutes (engineering colleges), and three

government agencies are partners to this program. There is demand from more

companies and colleges to join the program. Over 5,000 students have been well

trained (all in open sources technologies) and more than 1,000 can readily get

into any developmental environment and start producing results without much

training.

About 1,066 top-notch women engineers are coming out of the

colleges with experience of having developed live e-governance projects. Due to

the residential and intensive type of training given, with the help of training

management software and mentors, usually students learn even in a week what they

might have taken several months. Extensive statistics, student-wise,

subject-wise have been collected as part of student's profile. The gap from

pre-training to a post-training assessment is wide as witnessed in the case of

thousands of students. Due to the limited resources, the service was only

offered in 32 colleges till March 2005 to only female students. Plans are

underway, to expand the number of centers and make it available to more

students.

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On

Service Parameter

Service

Parameter

Before After
  Implementation Implementation
Campus

Placement
~ 30

colleges
~ 62

colleges
Hit

Rate/ Person/ Company-Visit
< 2% 5% - 10%
Hours

of Work
5 — 6/

day
12 —

14/ day
Practical-Projects

Developed in the Colleges
Miniscule 200
Colleges

with direct recruitment
~ 30 An

additional 58 colleges so far

The context of JKC as a nodal center or an activity center

offering a variety of programs is being appreciated by several entities.

Increasingly various entities/people acknowledge the network of JKCs as an

effective distribution mechanism of knowledge and skills. To extend the reach of

the training program, vast content has been developed in Telugu which was

offered to over 500 rural women. Efforts are underway to digitize and make

several flash based presentations to further expand the reach.

The service parameter of the various engineering colleges of the

state has improved to a great extent.

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Viability and Sustainability



The dedicated infrastructure (computers and connectivity) provided to each

student costs around Rs 30,000 per student per year. The cost of mentoring is

about Rs 30,000 per student. The cost of quality content for all subjects and

skills is about Rs 10,000 per student. Each student is expected to be placed

with one of the industrial partners. Upon placement, the student is expected to

pay the equivalent of 2-month salary. Through the 2-month salary upon placement,

and the remuneration for the projects developed, the money generated is expected

to fund the training program to the tune of 60% of the cost. The rest is

expected to be filled in through various contributions from funding agencies

like UGC (content development, further training), the government (cost-effective

solutions, promotion), and potential donors.

Replicability



This project is readily replicable to other regions and in other

colleges/institutions. Several other state governments have already requested

for the information and also delegations have been sent from some of the

developing countries to examine the model followed. For the coming year, it is

being extended to other branches of engineering and other disciplines.

GP Sahu and Dr MP Gupta Department of Management Studies, IIT-Delhi

mail@dqindia.com

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Technologies Used

  • All the applications were developed using open source

    technologies and deployed on open-source platforms involving no

    commercial component. This is done primarily for the purpose of developing

    applications quickly on low-end computer hardware that is available with the

    departments.

  • The students are also well trained in Weblogic, .Net, and

    J2EE platforms. This training is given by mentors who were trained by BEA

    and Microsoft as part of their involvement in the total consortium. Once the

    changes in applications are taken care of after interaction with the various

    officers, newer versions will be developed in various commercial platforms.

  • Content was developed in the form of video recordings. It is

    being ported to e-learning platforms supporting open content standards like

    SCORM. Such a transition will help the development of large repositories of

    sharable content. With respect to the e-governance applications developed,

    they are based on web-services making them interoperable.

  • All the applications developed are based on MVC architecture

    conforming to the standards set for the development of e-governance

    applications.

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