Ridiculous idea of One-Laptop-Per-ChildAs a matter of principle, I don't usually think better of the Indian Government and the bureaucracy, and they keep justifying my opinion, like banning blogspot, reservations mess and the AIIMS fiasco... But sometimes, they (and that too, the Ministry of HRD) do things with such foresight that I wonder if this the same bunch of people who keep navigating from one mess to another.
The latest in their visionary decisions has been to reject the One-Laptop-Per-Child (OLPC) programme. To whoever conceived it, esp. Nicholas Negroponte, OLPC is going to change the world. He thinks it is for the better, but Indian Government thinks (and I totally agree) that it is for the worse. I'll go further and say, most of the beneficiaries of this programme would be doomed. But, the great thing about the decision is that it has been an informed decision and the government has evidently seriously considered it before rejecting it.
Technologically, it is great to have a laptop for $100. But, as this article points out, it is ridiculously out of touch with reality. Is it feasible, when many schools have roofs that leak, teachers don't attend schools, there is no power, and who is going to fix the broken ones ? And, while a laptop would be nice to have, is it really necessary ? Do we want children to submit homework in powerpoint slides ?
Having continously used a computer and laptop for nearly 9 years now, I think it is dangerously prone to misuse. If this programme kicks in, children would start using the computers to do even simple things ... like normal arithmetic. What the previous generation used to calculate mentally, I need a calculator; and what I do mentally, the next generation will need a computer. The degradation of the education system would be totally complete. You'll have one more problem to the already existing set of problems. Unless we want the children to become good gamers ... It would also affect children psychologically. It would reduce the interaction with the group.
Our education system lacks a lot of things, but OLPC is not the way to fix it. Great decision by our Government