HRD Ministry rejects plan panel`s idea of laptop per child

Rejecting the planning commission's idea of implementing 'one laptop per child (OLPC) scheme' as "paedagogically suspect", the HRD Ministry feels it would be appropriate to instead utilise the money for universalization of secondary education.

Last Updated: Jul 24, 2006, 00:00 AM IST

New Delhi, July 24: Rejecting the planning
commission's idea of implementing 'one laptop per child (OLPC)
scheme' as "paedagogically suspect", the HRD Ministry feels it
would be appropriate to instead utilise the money for
universalization of secondary education.

"The case for giving a computer to every single is
paedagogically suspect. It may actually be detrimental to the
growth of creative and analytical abilities of the child",
Education Secretary Sudeep Banerjee told the Planning
Commission in a letter sent last month.

".....We cannot visualize a situation for decades when we
can go beyond the pilot stage. We need classrooms and teachers
more urgently than fancy tools," Banerjee said.

Citing notes received from a few experts in this regard,
he said "our considered view, therefore, is that there is
no case for further engaging with this idea within this
ministry."

"...If the Planning Commission has the kind of money
that would be required for this scheme, it would be
appropriate to utilize it for 'universalisation of secondary
education' for which, a concept paper has been lying with the
Planning Commission for approval since November 2005," he
said.

The OLPC was a non-profit association dedicated to
research to develop a 100-dollar laptop to educate children.
Faculty members at the Mitmedia Lab launched this initiative.
It was first announced by lab co-founder Nicholas Negroponte,
now chairman of OLPC.

Banerjee said that based on feedback from N K Sinha, a
Joint Secretary in the ministry who had been deputed to attend
the presentation at the MIT, "we do not think that the idea
of Prof Negroponte is mature enough to be taken seriously at
this stage and no major country is presently following this.
Even inside America, there is no much enthusiasm about this".

Bureau Report

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