Free laptops project in Tamil Nadu under fire

| November 8, 2011 | 0 Comments

Handing out free resources will not necessarily improve education, yet this has not stopped government ministers in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu from planning to give away 6.8 million laptops to schoolchildren.

The programme – worth US$2 billion and estimated to last five years – was launched against the backdrop of promises made during elections earlier this year. Politicians in this part of the world have a history of handouts – a previously elected official gave away thousands of colour televisions during his rule over the province. While Tamil Nadu is considered a leading Indian state in the use of information technology, the roll-out has already attracted a lot of criticism.

Some say the handouts are robbing the poor of essential social services and infrastructure improvement. There are frequent power cuts in this part of India, which could hamper effective use of computer equipment. Other critics maintain that the laptops have been equipped the most rudimentary software only, meaning they will be of temporary benefit to children at best. The new local government in Tamil Nadu is also handing out free goats and sheep, as well as food mixers and grinders.

Category: e-Education, Summer 2011

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