Qimpro Platinum Standard 2013

F C Kohli


Former Deputy Chairman, Tata Consultancy Services

DR FAQIR CHAND KOHLI has been a serial visionary and pioneer. His half century of contributions at Tata Electric Companies (TEC) and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) are legendary. He has left deep national footprints in the areas of power systems design and control; as well as the integration of IT as the engine for management science. Dr Kohli is benchmarked globally for select breakthrough practices he introduced at TEC and TCS. For these achievements he was recognized as the Qimpro Platinum Standard 1999 for Business.

Dr Kohli believes IT is the undisputed instrument for national development. While appreciating the quantum of spending by the Government of India on adult literacy, he has often questioned the effectiveness of the conventional methods adopted. He believes these conventional methods are grossly inadequate for an Accelerating India. The size of the problem is mega - 250 million illiterate adults in India. Since full literacy requires 200 hours of instruction, how can a housewife working in the fields of rural India find the time? Besides, where are the 500,000 trained teachers to teach in 500,000 villages?

Dr Kohli has a mantra: Every problem comes with a solution. As a first step he articulated his 3R Learning Principle: Recognize Images, Retain Images, Recall Images. The latent underlying principle being that people observe images and simultaneously relate them to sound patterns. For basic literacy, the standard is a vocabulary of 400 to 600 words. His computer based Adult Literacy Program for the rural masses, developed post-retirement, had an innovative solution.

Consequently, his mission from 2000 was to demonstrate the efficacy of his computer based Adult Literacy Program in a sample of villages. More specifically, as a measure, the trained adults should be able to read a newspaper in their own language. Facilitated by Dr Kohli, three TCS engineers and a linguist prepared a vocabulary of 500 words. The first project was in Medak village. The keyboards of donated used computers were updated to Telegu. Twenty persons volunteered for lessons thrice a week for 90 minutes each. In eight to ten weeks they started reading the newspaper. Since then, Dr Kohli has experimented with Hindi, Marathi, Tamil and Bengali with spectacular results. Through a sample of 50,000 adults, using five different languages, the methodology has been proven. The Government of India will now take over.

Dr Kohli has a social message. He would like rural adults to read not only the newspaper but also their land records, the political manifestos, and their children’s books.

We salute Dr Kohli. A true visionary and pioneer. Our Qimpro Platinum Standard 2013 for Education.

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