Kerala bridges digital divide through Malayalam Computing

June 10th, 2008 - 9:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Kozhikode, June 10 (IANS) Kerala has launched a new initiative, Malayalam Computing, to help people across the state operate computers in their mother tongue and thereby bridge the digital divide. The website launched by the government provides information on how to facilitate the use of Malayalam in computers.

“Once you enable a language in the machine, you can send mails and chat using the language. You need not use English. With this initiative we aim to overcome the language barrier, a key obstacle in bridging the digital-divide,” said S.B. Biju, state coordinator for Kerala IT Mission.

“The operating systems like Windows XP and Linux have inbuilt facility for this. But most people are not aware of it. No separate software is needed to enable a local language in a computer.”

The state government intends to use around 3,000 Akshaya Kendras, information and communication technology (ICT) access points, and schools to popularise Malayalam Computing.

People can go to Akshaya Kendras and learn how to enable Malayalam on their computer. “We also plan to enlighten hardware vendors regarding this,” Biju said.

Kerala has been conducting a total e-literacy drive through Akshaya Kendras.The campaign has been completed in eight districts and the government intends to finish the drive in the remaining six districts by December.

Malayalam Computing is expected to be a boon to new e-literates as it will encourage them to use computers.

“If they don’t use the newly-acquired skills there is a chance that they might forget,” Biju added.

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