Goa Church, business chamber to help school dropouts

November 21st, 2011 - 5:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Nov 21 (IANS) The Goa Church and a business chamber are coming together in a unique initiative to harness the talent of school and college dropouts.

Speaking to reporters in Panaji Monday, president of the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Manguirish Pai Raikar said the state’s apex business body and the Church would be employing dropouts to operate the Microsoft promoted information and communication technology (ICT) kiosks named ‘Saksham’, which allow people from places cut off from urban centres to avail the benefits of technology.

“We are tying up with schools of the Diocesan Society of Education to set up the Saksham kiosks. We hope this will help harness the talents who unfortunately drop out of schools and colleges,” Raikar said.

“The Church in Goa plays a very important role in the education field and more particularly in the technical education field. The chamber plans to draw a detailed programme in consultation with various Church-controlled educational institutions and take this initiative further,” Raikar said.

According to National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) statistics, the average dropout rate in Goa is 13.18 percent, which is higher than the national average of 9.36 percent.

NUEPA figures also show that the transition from primary to upper primary classes in Goa was 79 percent as compared to the all-India average of 81.13 percent.

Raikar said the Saksham kiosks, which were launched some years back, would be facilitated by the GCCI.

Launched in 2006, project Saksham is part of Microsoft’s rural computing initiative in collaboration with Hughes with the objective of setting up ICT kiosks across rural India.

The Church is a socio-politically well entrenched entity in Goa, where the Christian population is pegged at nearly 25 percent of the total 14 lakh.

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