The platform was created with the idea that a centralized website should contain information about all schools, gathered by students and teachers.
At the turn of the century, in the 2000s, computer education had already started in some schools in Kerala, in a modest way. High schools that offered options between economics and commerce, introduced computer science as a third choice, turning unused rooms into computer labs and starting with BASIC programming. In 2001, the government of Kerala launched the [email protected] project with the aim of spreading IT education to all schools. Within a few years, schools began to have their own websites, but created by web developers hired from outside. Some of them died out over time. After 2005, the Department of Education decided to have a centralized website where information from all schools could be collated by students and teachers. This became Schoolwiki. Now 13 years old, the project has climbed many heights, revamped itself and added new features.
“When the Department of Education decided to create Schoolwiki, it sought the help of Malayalam Wikipedia editors, who suggested using the MediaWiki platform which even students and teachers can edit. This are these editors who set up the wiki for the department, with the initial template systems and modules imported from Malayalam Wikipedia,” explains Ranjith Siji, entrepreneur and administrator of Malayalam wikipedia.
Simply put, Schoolwiki “is a wiki for schools in Kerala” functioning as a mini Wikipedia, in which the contributors and editors are upper class students and their teachers. “Most of them are either government-run schools or government-assisted schools and follow the state curriculum. People can find information about the schools like history, infrastructure, activities, famous personalities who have studied in a school, location map, etc. It does not contain information related to the syllabi or curriculum of the school,” adds Ranjith.
Students and teachers who edit the wiki receive training from the Department of Education. “KITE (Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education) manages the training of Schoolwiki. There are master trainers in each district, who in turn are trained with the help of Wikimedians from the Malayalam Wikipedia community,” says Ranjith.
Since it is built like Wikipedia, it allows content to be created and edited by students and teachers from different schools.
Anvar Sadath, Managing Director of KITE, says, “Back in 2009 when we were talking about bringing a content portal that could cover over 15,000 schools in the state, I can proudly say that the model that came to me in mind without a second We thought it was Wikipedia It was mainly because of the freedom offered by the Wikipedia platform, its philosophy, the practices followed and the collaborative platform that made us choose This was also in line with the policy decision of the state government to adopt FOSS (free software) in the education sector.
Adding that the Media Wiki version has been updated to 1.35, Anvar says that Schoolwiki is the largest digital repository of school education sector among all Indian regional languages. “Going forward, we will do our best to improve all features of Schoolwiki, while incorporating translated versions of content in different languages and making the platform more social media friendly.”