Helmed by teachers and students, Schoolwiki in Kerala going strong after 13 years

The platform was formed with the idea that a centralised website should contain information of all the schools, put together by students and teachers.
Schoolwiki students and teachers
Schoolwiki students and teachers
Written by:

By the turn of the century, in the 2000s, computer education had already begun in some schools of Kerala, in a small way. High schools which gave options between Economics and Commerce, introduced Computer Science as a third choice, turning unused rooms into computer labs and starting with BASIC programming. By 2001, the government of Kerala began the IT@School project in a bid to spread computer education across all the schools. Within a few years, schools began having websites of their own, but created by web developers hired from outside. Some of these died down with time. After 2005, the Education Department decided to have a centralised website where information of all schools could be put together 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 Education Department decided to form Schoolwiki, it sought the help of editors in Malayalam Wikipedia, who suggested using the MediaWiki platform that even students and teachers can edit. It is these editors who set up wiki for the department, with the initial templating systems and modules imported from Malayalam Wikipedia," says Ranjith Siji, an entrepreneur and Malayalam wikipedia administrator. 

In layman's terms, Schoolwiki "is a wiki for schools in Kerala" working like a mini Wikipedia, in which both the contributors and editors are students of higher classes and their teachers. "Most of these are either government run or aided schools and follow the state curriculum. People can find information about schools like history, infrastructure, activities, famous personalities who studied in a school, location map etc. It does not contain information related to the syllabi or curriculum of the school," adds Ranjith.

The students and teachers editing wiki are given training from the Education Department. "KITE (Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education) is handling the training of Schoolwiki. There are master trainers in each district, who are in turn trained with the help of Wikimedians from the Malayalam Wikipedia Community," Ranjith says.

Since it is built like Wikipedia, it allows the content to be created and edited by students and teachers from the different schools.

Anvar Sadath, the Chief Executive Officer of KITE, says, "In 2009, when we were discussing bringing a content portal which could cover over 15000+ schools in the state, I can proudly say that the model which came to my mind without a second thought was Wikipedia. It was mostly because of the freedom offered by the Wikipedia platform, its philosophy, practices followed and the collaborative platform that attracted us to choose the model. This was also in line with the state government’s policy decision 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 in the school education sector among all Indian regional languages. "Going forward, we are taking our best efforts to enhance all the features in Schoolwiki, along with incorporating translated versions of content to different languages and making the platform more social media friendly."

Related Stories

No stories found.
The News Minute