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Gates backs state's technology drive

INDIA

MICROSOFT chief, Bill Gates, has pledged support and computer training for some six million pupils and two million teachers in Kerala, according to the state's education minister, PJ Joseph.

Already 1,000 teachers are being trained by Microsoft India, as Kerala, like Bangalore, seeks to establish itself as a major centre for the information technology industry.

Microsoft has already been working with schools in Delhi, the Indian capital. According to officials the feedback has been positive.

Bill Gates during a recent visit to India made a point of visiting schools which Microsoft is helping. He also promised to help some of the students get jobs whenthey left school.

Kerala, which has one of the best literacy rates in India, would like Microsoft to help its schools by providing hardware, software, training for teachers of IT and the latest technology for the IT curriculum. The state has also sought Microsoft's support to set up a hi-tech research and development corridor between the towns of Cochin and Munnar.

Though schools do have computers, and computer training has become an essential part of the curriculum, the state government has sought help because it has been unable to provide easy access for all children.

Microsoft could not confirm how much money it would be spending to help the state.

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