You say you want a revolution …
July 11, 2005 § Leave a comment
Over the weekend, the opinion page of The Hindu featured a bold roadmap for India’s knowledge revolution. 600,000 rural knowledge centres run by 1,000,000 grassroots trainers … and created over just two years. A knowledge revolution indeed!
This road map has been laid down by Professor M.S. Swaminathan and other members of the National Alliance for Mission 2007. The Alliance pulls together an almost mind boggling set of partners from across India: government (at all levels!); the private sector (everyone from big players like Microsoft and Tata to start-ups like n-Logue and Drishtee); and leading knowledge centre champions (Sewa, Nasscom Foundation, Tara Haat, One World South Asia and, of course, MSSRF).
Sitting at the Second Mission 2007 Convention today, it’s (again) clear to me that the rural knowledge revolution is part of a national dream here in India. The village knowledge centres are not seen as charity. Quite the opposite. They are looked upon as an essential part of connecting the people of rural India into the global economy on their own terms. There is consensus that this is good for the country, and for its economy!
One of the striking things about this national dream is its real connections to the grassroots. Yes, the Mission 2007 Convention included a whole lot of speechifying from podiums (including from me). But it also included a whole parallel process of consultation and networking amongst 140 new National Virtual Academy ‘fellows’. Coming from across India these people have committed to being barefoot technologists spreading the knowledge revolution in the (mostly poor) rural communities they come from.
There is no question in my mind that, if Professor Swaminathan can recruit and train the one million grassroots fellows that he has called for, these people will bring the tide of the knowledge revolution with them. It will be an amazing sight to behold.