India's adult education programme will not just be a chalk and black board scheme as the government has roped in software services and consulting company Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to teach illiterates through the click and portal medium too.

“We have already had discussions with TCS on this and they are almost ready with a software that will teach adults (above 15 years of age) through animation, graphics and by downloading teaching materials from a dedicated site,” a senior human resource development ministry (HRD) official told IANS.

“We will go online to achieve our target wherever there is possibility. This will reduce the demand for books and other hard teaching material, definitely a constraint in many parts of the country,” the official who did not want to be named said.

In September 2009, India rolled out the flagship adult education programme named Saakshar Bharat. It will be implemented in 365 districts of the country where the literacy level is below 50 percent.

The focus of the scheme is female literacy.

It aims to make literate 70 million people, of which at least 85 percent are women. The scheme has already been rolled out in 167 districts across 19 states in the first week of April 2010.

The HRD ministry official said the districts will be covered within three years and the role of TCS will be the key to achieving success as the government can provide Internet access in remote areas and thus reduce bottlenecks in making teaching materials available.

“We will use schools, students and volunteers to teach these 70 million people. The online version will be available in several regional languages to facilitate easy learning for our target audience. The TCS software will be interactive,” the ministry official added.

Mir Azamat Ali, a project manager with TCS, confirmed they were partnering the ministry for this project. He said they were happy to help the government in their effort.

The HRD ministry official said an announcement will be made in due course so that people in general can take benefit of this online teaching version.

“We have come across many instances where we have found that people in villages and cities take their own initiative to make their illiterate neighbours literate but their main problem is getting teaching material. Now they can download it and teach their near and dear ones,” the official added.