Kerala is Open Country September 25, 2006Posted by Carthik in commentary, news, ubuntu.
This is probably old news to those of you who follow news of Linux gaining new ground. The state of Kerala in India is promoting the use of Linux in government schools (also at Yahoo! News).
Old news, yes, but something that makes me really proud. I am from Kerala, and have lost count of the number of times I have had to explain how we occassionally have a deomcratically elected communist government (we were the first state in the world to have an elected communist government), or how we’re so industrially backward despite having the highest literacy rate in India. Blame it on (or thank) the Kerala Model of development. I owe a lot to the educational system in my state. A third of the population of Kerala emigrate, and there is a popular joke that no matter where (in the world) you go, you will definitely find a tea-shop with a Keralite running it.
What makes me write about this now is the mention of my sister’s school, Cotton Hill Girls’ High School, in this recent BusinessWeek article that refers to the Kerala-adopts-Open Source story, and, among other things, a new breed of students who say, “Windows?, Never heard of it.” Cotton Hill has (or had, I can’t find a citation) the distinction of being the school with the largest number of students in all of Asia.
The government hasn’t “banned” Microsoft – far from it, schools still can choose what they want. The state ideologically encourages the use of Open Source, and stands to benefit financially from it. More importantly the students will definitely benefit more by getting exposed to free culture and open source early, since I have a feeling that the future is going to be “open”.