Friday, November 18, 2005

100 Dollar Laptop Unveiled

There are many reports about the unveiling of the 100 dollar laptop from the OLPC initiative at the Tunis UN technology summit yesterday in the presence of Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the UN. The pictures are all nice, and the machine looks wonderful. As I have said, I would love to buy one of these, except that it is not for sale. I won't bore you with other stuff. Go check out any of these sites: Reuters and BBC.

I just want to point out Urmi Goswami's news story from several days ago. She reports that the Indian Government wishes to double its spending on school education (from its current 47,000 crore -- 470 billion -- rupee budget) in order to implement effectively the Right to Education Act that is likely to be enacted soon.

I have outlined other reasons for why the Indian government should not spend its resources (money) on this laptop initiative. See here, here and here. Suvendra Nath Dutta also has some strong views here.

If you take a child population of about 20 million in each age group, the total number of children to be educated in classes 1 through 10 comes to about 200 million or 20 crore. Even if you take the new figure of about 100,000 crore ruppes as the amount the government will spend on implementing the Right to Education Act, it works out to about Rs. 5,000 per child.

In case you didn't notice, that's about the price of the 100 Dollar laptop. If you go by the current expenditure, well, you do the math.