On Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 7:39 AM, Gautam John <gau...@prathambooks.org>wrote:

> On 18 October 2011 17:16, Sudhanwa Jogalekar <sudhanwa....@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Overall, for just 3K , it seems worth buying considering its
> > functionality like internet connectivity, phone calling, various apps
> > etc.. Maybe I will go for one more as standby and still spend just 6k.
>
> Sudhanwa, the question is worth buying for whom? As individual
> purchases, I am fine with it. The Government subsidising it to provide
> to students, I do not agree with because the cost/benefit doesn't make
> much sense.
>
>
We also (although perhaps that is a discussion for a different forum, yet it
has its echo right here, because of the content question) need to understand
whether the government is being ridden on for a parochial purpose.

As it is presently constructed, Aakash seems very unsuitable for higher
education. This may seem an extreme view, but I think we have no reason to
accept the present quality of higher education as acceptable, for our
country, for our children. This debate is already taking place at the level
of such celebrity techies as Infosys' emeritus chairman, Narayana Murthy,
who has voiced his concern about the premier IITS and IIMs (or maybe he
restricted himself to IITs, and it hardly takes much to open one's eyes to
the fact that the IITs are not and cannot be the end-all and be-all of
higher learning in India). Will this device contribute to raising the bar at
our institutes of higher learning? I don't think so.

It might be useful as a supplement for secondary education, but even there,
its low battery life is worrying. The possibility of recharging regularly,
or of providing widely distributed electricity to keep the device working
during the normal school day, is simply a pipe dream for the foreseeable
future. I am not so concerned about the lack of support for Android Market,
provided an alternate channel for maintaining and upgrading the device is
created and made available in a meaningful manner. There is no information
about any such infrastructure. Tacky construction will have disastrous
results for devices placed in the hands of playful schoolchildren. And as of
yet, there is no framework of pedagogy to use the device. Who will help
implement such a pedagogy when it is developed? Schoolteachers who have not
yet put their hands on their first working personal computers?

Also, MoHRD does not have a remit to bring a device like this to secondary
schools. As such, it falls between two stools.

Does the Ministry have good reason to believe that neither private industry
nor any collective of techies is gearing to make an affordable and
meaningful device possible? If so, I would like to know their source of
information. I am aware of several such projects taking place worldwide in
the non-private sector, and from the private sector, creating niche products
for every conceivable segment seems to be happening almost continuously, or
at any rate, at a bewildering speed.

-- 
Vickram
Fool On The Hill <http://communicall.wordpress.com>
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