India Says No Thanks To The $100 Laptop
from the priorities dept
One of the most common retorts to the often-tried idea of creating ultracheap laptops for the world’s poor is that they have more pressing needs than the ability to surf the internet. The Indian government apparently believes this, as it has decided not to participate in Nicolas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child initiative, which wanted to sell $100 PCs to governments around the world for them to distribute. According to India’s education secretary, the need for more teachers and classrooms outstrips the need for students to have laptops. This is the sort of ideological stumbling block that programs like Negroponte’s will have to overcome if they’re to ever succeed, but they also reflect the rather poor job these projects have done at clearly elucidating their benefits. It’s unclear yet what the fallout of India’s decision will be, as it was hoped to be a major customer of OLPC, which won’t begin manufacturing until it’s received orders and payment for five million to ten million machines, but in better news, Nigeria has said it will order a million. It looks like in the short term, though, at least some of the countries projects like OLPC are supposed to help are having a hard time justifying their costs to their benefits.