"The computer will be launched next month," HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said at a function. "This is not just a dream, it is a reality," he added. Officials in the Ministry said the low-cost device will be launched on October 5.
Sibal said the name has already been finalised for the device and will announced at the launch. He, however, did not elaborate about the device, which is being billed as the cheapest computer globally.
The computer will bring in immense benefits to the students and will be connected to the internet and perform "all the functions that any other computer can perform. That's an enormously empowering tool," he said.
Sibal, who gave away the first IGNOU-instituted Rajiv Gandhi International Prize for technology in education development to Azim Premji in recognition of his foundation's role in the education sector, said IT has come to play an important role not only in the education sector but in other sectors as well.
He said while it gives scope to a child to transcend boundaries and acquire knowledge using the net, IT can also be used to root out corruption from the country.
"Much of the talk of corruption that we have had in the recent past will be dealt with through initiative of IT. What we need to do is to ensure the scope of human intervention which is the scope of all corruption is dealt with and IT plays an important role in finding solutions and we are in the process of doing it," he said.
The Minister, however, expressed concern over the quality of teaching in educational institutes and teachers, regretting that "we just don't have that quality teachers out there".
"For the last 64 years, we have felt that we just don't have that quality teachers out there. So one of the big initiatives of the 12th Five Year plan is going to be a mission on teacher education.
"This is what we are proposing to the Government in 12th plan to make it a very central mission in one its many missions," he said.
The prototype of the low cost computing device which Sibal had unveiled in July last year is likely to be a 5/7/9 inch touchscreen gadget. It would be packed with internet browsers, PDF reader, video conferencing facilities, open office, sci-lab, media player, remote device management capability, multimedia input-output interface option, and multiple content viewer.