India ditches 'potentially harmful' $100 laptop plan

India ditches 'potentially harmful' $100 laptop plan

Summary: India's education secretary called the project "pedagogically suspect", saying the money would be better spent on teachers and classroom

TOPICS: Emerging Tech

India has declared it won't be buying any $100 laptops, saying it prefers to spend the money on teachers and more traditional teaching tools.

The Indian government rejected proposals by the country's Planning Commission to buy the $100 (£54) hardware from Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.

According to local newspaper Kaumudi, India's education secretary Sudeep Banerjee said the project was "pedagogically suspect" and giving the country's schoolchildren a laptop each could harm their creative thinking and analytical abilities.

He is quoted as telling the Planning Commission: "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 OLPC project is "not mature enough to be taken seriously at this stage", Banerjee added.

The first working prototype of the laptop was shown in May and the OLPC has already received its first order from Nigeria. The African country placed an order for one million of the Linux laptops, although the devices won't go into production until orders for at least five million have been received.

Topic: Emerging Tech

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  • ' .. giving the country's schoolchildren a laptop each could harm their creative thinking and analytical abilities'.

  • The decision is to be highly appreciated. Children could go with a more mentally challenging tasks like abacus and mental arthimetic and developing language skills models than a machine that will bypass thinking and provide shortcuts. Computer education is a must but the grounding for this comes from core mathematics, physics and language skills which has to be developed. Most so this is an age where security and parental control are not yet matured, a laptop at a younger age may make children vulnerable to bad elements.