India’s Ministry of Education has said that India will not take part in the $100 laptop project [The Register]. Quoting the news article:
Education dismissed the laptop as “pedagogically suspect”. Education Secretary Sudeep Banerjee said: “We cannot visualise a situation for decades when we can go beyond the pilot stage. We need classrooms and teachers more urgently than fancy tools.”
The Playground, as well as many Internet commentators, think this is “fair reasoning.” I don’t see how—who ever said the laptop would replace teachers or classrooms? How exactly would they do that—is this supposed to make any sense?
Yes, the $100 laptop is a “fancy tool.” It is a fancy tool to facilitate a new age of electronic learning. Funds used to purchase these laptops should not be taken away from providing facilities and teachers, but instead on school supplies such as paper, pencils, and textbooks which themselves are generally expensive.
While India and much of the developing world may need more teachers and classrooms, yes, it’s a completely different problem that the $100 laptop isn’t meant to address. I’m waiting to see if there is valid criticism from India’s government in the future.