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Volunteers to Bring Internet to School in India


Chun Hua Zheng--The Tech
As part of the Indian Technology Education Program, students will work in India this summer for six weeks to establish an Internet server at a high school. (right to left, top to bottomo) Vinay Pulim G, Ameet D. Ranadive G, Professor of Science, Technology, and Society Kenneth Keniston, Chad S. Brodel '00, Noshirwan K. Petigara '01, Matthew R. Morwood '99, and Agay A. Kulkarni '01.

Sharmin Ghaznavi
Staff Reporter

This summer six MIT students will head for the city of Pune, in Maharasta India, as part of the MIT India Technology Education Program. Over the course of six weeks there they hope to establish an Internet server at an Indian high school and educate students about computers and the Internet.

Founded in September 1997 by Ameet D. Ranadive G and Vinay Pulim G, graduate students in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, ITEP is an initiative to advance computer-related education in India.

The program is modeled after the MIT China Educational Technology Initiative, a program started two years ago to promote computer related education in high schools in China.

"I got the idea for [ITEP] from going to a MIT-CETImeeting. Hearing about all the great things they had accomplished [in China] made me think it would be great for India," Ranadive said.

Program promotes understanding

One of the other main goals of the program, in addition to promoting computer-related education, is promoting an understanding of Indian culture. MIT students involved in the program are currently enrolled in a seminar about Indian history and culture led by Professor of Science, Technology, and Society Kenneth Keniston.

During their time in India, MITstudents will stay with host families. "I think it will be a tremendous cultural experience for both groups," Ranadive said.

ITEPfounders hope that the program will eventually lead to the development of an MIT-India program that will provide exchange opportunities, summer internships, and co-op opportunities for MITstudents with Indian companies.

India is emerging as a world technology center, and MITshould take a leadership role in promoting connections between the United States and India, Ranadive said.

In the next five years, MIT-ITEP founders hope to expand the program to more high schools in Pune and Mumbai and, eventually, to other parts of India.

They would also like to see the program help set up computer facilities in high schools currently lacking them.

MIT-ITEPis funded by MITalumni in Pune and Mumbai, the Mustard Seed Foundation of Cambridge, a public service foundation, and MIT's International Science and Technology Initiative.

A number of individuals have also provided significant support including Professor of Political Science Myron Weiner, Professor of Urban Studies and Planning Michael A. Fischer, director of the Program in Science, Technology and Society, Rahul Rathi, chief operating officer of the Beharay-Rathi Group in India and Professor Moogat of Wadia College in India.