Thursday, July 27, 2006

100 Dollar laptops: MHRD takes a sane stand


The Ministry of Human Resource Development has taken a lot of flak on the reservation front from almost all quarters; but it did get something right. And, that is to say a firm 'No' to the 'One Laptop Per Child' (OLPC) project aka the 100 Dollar Laptop project. Among the several arguments it has put together, this is probably the most important.

"It is quite obvious that the financial expenditure to be made on the scheme will be out of public funds. ... It would be impossible to justify an expenditure of this scale on a debatable scheme when public funds continue to be in inadequate supply for well-established needs listed in different policy documents," the ministry said.

Veteran readers of this humble blog would know that I have been a strong opponent of these low-priced laptops being dumped on the poor countries in millions -- at public expense. [I would welcome it if they are sold in the open market for individuals to buy for themselves/their children] What our poor children need are good schools, with real classrooms, real blackboards, real infrastructure (including toilets) and real teachers. In the absence of these real things on the ground, spending money on fancy gadgets is a cruel scam. I applaud the MHRD for putting its foot down and saying 'No'. I applaud them even more for this special touch:

It also finds it intriguing as to "why no developed country has been chosen" for MIT's OLPC experiment "given the fact that most of the developed world is far from universalising the possession and use of laptops among children of 6-12 age group".

5 Comments:

  1. MadHat said...

    good news...

  2. The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

    indeed. one good decision made.

  3. mrajshekhar said...

    absolutely.
    we need to look beyond tech fixes to improve india's education system. was reading a chirpy little tome called the flickering mind recently --
    about how investments in computers et al, belying all the promises, have not led to better education in US schools.

    http://www.booknoise.net/flickeringmind/book/index.html

    cheers

  4. Rajiv said...

    In my point of view India is missing out on a great opportunity here. Its pretty from a useless peice of Junk which is being dumped in third world countries at public expense. Its the state's responsibility to build a sustainable infrastructure for primary education for children. And in that we have failed miserably. OLPC would have given those children a chance to circumvent the system and learn by themseleves.

    Its sad that we are actually spreading FUD about this ingenous idea. How may entrepreneurs try tackling a problem like Poverty? Kudos to him for innovating and trying to convince people that it might work!

  5. doc said...

    Here is what that $100 laptop may actually cost-


    http://www.olpcnews.com/sales_talk/price/490_per_xo_laptop_the_real_cos.html