Driving Technological Advancement in Rajasthan: RKCL

rkcl-logoRKCL – Rajasthan Knowledge Corporation Limited is a Public Limited Company established in Rajasthan as a joint venture of Government of Rajasthan; Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Limited (MKCL), Pune; University of Rajasthan Jaipur, Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology, Udaipur; Vardhaman Mahaveer Open University, Kota; Rajcomp Info Services Ltd. and Centre for e-governance. It was incorporated on 25th April 2008 under the Companies Act, 1956 having CIN U 80302 RJ 2008 PLC 026433.

The main objective of company is to develop a new educational framework which can plan, implement, supervise and regulate the developing needs for IT skills in the 21st century in the State of Rajasthan by promoting the IT enabled education programs as practiced in the Departments of School, Higher, Technical and Medical Education, Government of Rajasthan and to take all such action as may be deemed to be necessary to provide high quality education including better connectivity, computer skills and co-ordination amongst all educational institutions, universities, students and the Government, as well as to obtain sponsorships, institutional backups and financial support for the present and future programs and responsibilities accepted on behalf of the State Government.

RKCL has implemented various programs under 4 categories:

  • Enabling Programs
  • Educational Programs
  • Educational e-Governance Programs
  •  e-Governance Programs

Talking about the organization, Dr. Atul Wadegaonkar, MD, RKCL, said,“This is a corporation with a social mission of making Rajasthan Digital Literate. The diversity in Population and academic is a lot evident in Rajasthan. But People in Rajasthan are ready to change. They have a positive attitude towards technological advancements.  This has helped us to be successful to an extent. Ours is a 70:30 collaboration corporation, wherein 30% govt share gives us credibility and 70% private share gives us entrepreneurship and reach in market.”

"The efforts of RKCL has increased digital literacy in state." Shri Sanjay Malhotra, Secretary, DOIT, Rajasthan Govt
“The efforts of RKCL has increased digital literacy in state.” Shri Sanjay Malhotra, Secretary, DOIT, Rajasthan Govt
On the success of RKCL in terms of providing digital literacy in state, Shri Sanjay Malhota, Secretary, DOIT, Govt of Rajasthan, said, “RKCL has been doing good work in the area of digital empowerment. With revolutionary courses like RS-CIT, Digital Yuva and Digital Saheli, the company has been successful in targeting students, women, working professional, senior citizens. All the courses have ‘perform’ type learning approach,  focusing on practical application and skill development. The efforts of RKCL are increasing the digital literacy of the state Rajasthan.”

Explaining their Flag bearer course, RS-CIT, Mr. Wadegaonkar said, “RS-CIT is a digital literacy course which was started by RKCL in 2009. We have more 7.5 lacs Digital literate learners till date. It is a 132 hrs course which has been distributed over a period of 12 weeks. The course content is not informed type, it is performed type. It is taught in sequential manner. This helps us in keeping a control on content/quality of education in center.”

 RKCL is a socio-commercial venture: Dr. Aatul Wadegaonkar, MD, RKCL
RKCL is a socio-commercial venture: Dr. Aatul Wadegaonkar, MD, RKCL

When asked about whether the course is available on Open sources, he said, “The course is available on open-source but there are no takers. The reason behind this the market for open-source is still in its nascent stage. In people’s minds Microsoft in instilled to a very large extent.”

On being asked whether they are open for any Collaboration on open source, he said, “We do collaborate with TPA for software. Our org is a company working on collaboration; we are open for all types of collaboration. Anything, or everything and only that thing for masses we will take up that. Anything that is for classes we don’t entertain that. 5 year down the line everything will be on open source. RKCL will be on open source and the migration will be completed in a year’s time.  50% of software is already java based. By the time users will start working on open source, even RKCL will come on board. Definition of Digital literacy will change after 2 years, based on definition at that time our course will also evolve.”

rs-citOn being asked about the availability of online version of the program, he said, “As of online version of the course is not available. A person has to go to center to learn the course. Circulation is limited till centers. Online learning concept is still not an acceptable in India.  Secondly Bandwidth issue is there. Lastly, Indians still feel that a controlled environment is the only way of teaching. Someone has to be there constantly for supervision and teaching.”

Explaining the how the faculty is trained, Mr. Wadegaonkar said, “Here we provide self- learning, e –learning mode wherein the person has to log in and study. Thereafter, online exam is conducted in controlled environment and the person passes then he becomes the facilitator.”

digital-yuva-logoExplaining the need to start the course, Digital Yuva, he said, “Digital Yuva is a curse targeted at school segment. In India computer course definition is small course= small Microsoft and less internet usage, this is followed by basic course, higher version is advanced and the last stage of computer course is languages. Till sometime this definition was fine, but now with open source, things have changed. Earlier in Physics labs one was asked to verify Ohm’s law. Who are we to verify the law?  What is required is to learn the application of this law. For this we have software named exploremaint. With this software one can explore the experiment. This generation is ‘explore-ment’.

“Then there is another feature of the program; Scratch programming. In this, Internet is taught through animation. Through this aspect we target school students to older generation (senior citizens). It’s not MS Office. Parents are taught from scratch right from telling ‘What is Booting’. Auto CAD 16 commands have been identified and incorporated in the program so that general idea about drawing requirement is satisfied.”

When asked to put some light on the need to start Digital Saheli, Mr. Wadegaonkar, said, “CM announced women will be given free computer literacy, with the aim of Digital empowerment. We had a discussion about the requirement of masses female sector. Things which can make her able to help her family, and not become a ‘English Vinglish’ mother.  This is for others, Based on the discussion, we came up with this course.  Any female with some basic understanding of words ‘Akshar gyan’ can take up this course. It is available free of cost at all the centers.”

Explaining how the branding of these courses is done, Mr. Wadegaonkar, had to offer, “Anything given in free by govt, I can’t spend money on branding. For any free product, after acceptability only then usability comes. So marketing activities for Digital Saheli or Digital Yuva is not possible. People have taken out rallies, conducted seminars to promote Digital Yuva and thus make youth digital literate.

digital saheliDigital Saheli is exclusively for Rajasthan. Moreover, if we promote the free courses, then we don’t have enough infrastructures to support the huge demand which will be created. But for any paid course eg RS-CIT, branding is required because I have to ask people to come and join the course.”

Throwing on the future initiatives of RKCL, Mr. Wadegaonkar, said, “With the aim of automating the system, 6 months down the line every center will have biometrics. For children in India, computer means MS Office, we are having tough time to break this image.  To break this image will be another agenda.

Also, we are planning to start courses for BPO, KPO industries in collaboration with Rajasthan University. Under this course, we will offer BA in KPO/BPO administration, a person starts from Asst level, fees will be paid to RKCL and he will paid by the company. In 3 years he will get the degree but he will have to stay in the same company for 3 years. This will help the candidate as he gets a career path and the industry will also be benefited with low attrition rate. This course is again for masses. We have started an experimental model in Maharashtra, by MKCL as they have market for such activity.

Also, we are working with police department for digital literacy. We are designing course for them which will be customized according to their needs.  I met Mr. Sharat Kaviraj, IPS, Cyber Crime, wherein we have decided to design a course on the lines of Digital Saheli with an addition of online filing of FIR.”