26 July 2006

One Laptop Per Child: Pedagogically Suspect?

I've been a little dismissive of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, but having read LWN.net's fascinating interview with Jim Getty, the Vice President of Software, I have become more impressed with what it is trying to do, and how it is trying to do it.

Unfortunately, it seems that the Indian Ministry of Education does not share my new-found enthusiasm. According to Heise Online:

The Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), the country's ministry of education, has rejected the suggestion made by the country's Planning Commission to take part in the "One Laptop per Child" (OLPC) program. In a letter sent to the Planning Commission last month Education Secretary Sudeep Banerjee of the Ministry of Human Resource Development stated that the case for giving a computer to every single child was "pedagogically suspect." This the Indian daily The Hindu reports. "It may actually be detrimental to the growth of creative and analytical abilities of the child," the secretary added. Classrooms and teachers were more urgently needed than "fancy tools," the Education Secretary went on to say.

It's a fair point, and a concern that research will need to show is unfounded when the first deliveries of the laptops take place next year (assuming they do).

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