Schools in India can soon expect to get free Chromebooks, courtesy Google. The search giant will partner with the Andhra Pradesh Government to launch the project pilot says a report by the Times of India. Free Chromebooks will be given to the students of 3 Government run and one private school in the Warangal district of the State.
Chromebooks are laptops designed by Google which use Chrome as the OS, primarily rely on the internet to function and uses Google online storage to store files. The company plans on providing 25 Chromebooks to each school initially and will also provide teacher’s training in the use of the Google’s online apps.
The Department of Information Technology in Andhra Pradesh will be responsible for providing 1 Mbps wi-fi and power back-up in schools to enable use of the Chromebooks. Google which already runs a similar program in the US plans to expand the program across the State after the pilot.
The Chromebook which retails at around 26k is being offered free with an aim to popularise the device in the country. With its limited storage and customisation options, and the fact that has to be constantly connected to the internet to be of any function, the Chromebook has gained its share of criticism in India. But if states follow the Karnataka model, who provided 2.5 lakh villages with wi-fi hotspots the move may still reap rewards.
On the part of the Indian Government, this is not the first time that it has sought to make computer and internet literacy a state-wide affair. In 2008, it had partnered with OLPC India to provide One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) to rural under-privileged children, but received a lukewarm response from States. In 2010, the Government had announced a $35 tablet Aakaash 2 to further computer literacy, but this too was not success with the Government having scrapped the project in March this year. Let’s hope Google’s foray fares better.