Kerala to Frame Curriculum that Suits New Age Needs: Chief Minister
“We need to equip students with the resources that enable them to meet the global challenges of the new age. For that, they must get learning facilities of international standards and academic assignments of futuristic use,” he said recently after inaugurating Super and Mini versions of Fab Labs, besides a startup incubator.
At the function held at the Government Polytechnic in Palakkad, the Chief Minister opened the Mini Fab Lab, adding to a state-wide network of 20 such establishments that develop technical prototyping platforms for design fabrication technology.
The Super Fab Lab he opened through video conferencing will function at the Integrated Startup Complex (ISC) of the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) at Kalamassery in Kochi. It is the world’s first such facility to function outside the US and is operated in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
It will give India’s hardware industry a huge leap by allowing researchers, innovators and developers to do things beyond the purview of the State’s existing Fab Labs.
“The new Fab Labs will enable Kerala’s youth to enter the next stage of scientific creativity. The Mini Fab Lab and the Startup Incubator in Palakkad will be of use to NRI investors who return to the State with the technical expertise and experience they gained abroad.’’
Presiding over the function, K Krishnankutty, Water Resources Minister, said ‘precision farming’ can be one of the new subjects that can be introduced in the syllabus on technology.
M Sivasankar IAS, Principal Secretary, Electronics & IT, said the State is striving hard to ensure that Fab Labs, in the next 10 years, enable anyone to do one’s own work independently.
Neil Gershenfeld, who is director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, said Kerala has been a “pioneer from the first two Fab Labs” in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. “Now a Super Fab Lab, where you can make next to anything,” he said in a video message screened at the function.
The other speakers included V K Sreekandan MP, Santhakumari K, panchayat president and D Balamurali IAS, District Collector.
The KSUM Super Fab Lab, located 20 km north of Kochi, has state-of-the-art machines worth more than Rs. 7 crore installed in an area of 10,000 square feet. Kerala today has two electronic Fab Labs, functioning in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. The Super Fab Lab in Kochi is set to make ISC one of the country’s most sought-after investment hubs.
For KSUM, its collaboration with MIT also allows Kerala’s hardware startups to use the Super Fab Lab and work with researchers of MIT’s Centre for Bits and Atoms on an MTM (Machine That Make) project. It explores the possibility of using machines in a Fab Lab to create machines for its own use. DK