HRD contends that spending Rs 450 crore on digital empowerment can be better spent on primary and secondary education. "It is quite obvious that the financial expenditure to be made on the scheme will be out of public funds.
It would be impossible to justify an expenditure of this scale on a debatable scheme when public funds continue to be in inadequate supply for well-established needs listed in different policy documents," the ministry said.
And The Register reports that the education ministry is far from convinced that this is a good use of funds:
The Indian Ministry of Education dismissed the laptop as "paedagogically suspect". Education Secretary Sudeep Banerjee said: "We cannot visualise a situation for decades when we can go beyone the pilot stage. We need classrooms and teachers more urgently than fancy tools."
The Indian Government is asking the right questions: Is this really the best use of $100 per child? Why is this right for developing countries, but not being rolled out in industrialized countries?
Like many others, I am perplexed by the determination of Nicholas Negroponte, whom I admire, to make this new laptop only available to large-scale government purchasers.