The Indian government says it will mass produce one million laptops at a cost of $35 per computer beginning in just a few weeks. Minister for human resource development Kapil Sabil says he is putting the finishing touches on the current prototype intended mainly to be used as an educational tool in India’s schools. The laptop is the government’s answer to the One Laptop Per Child program created by the American Nicholas Negroponte. Currently about 2,000 Indian children participate in Negroponte’s program which serves 3 million children worldwide.
What’s the Big Idea?
The motivation behind an inexpensive laptop, meant to be used mainly in schools, is India’s education crisis. There are simply not enough qualified teachers to cope with the country’s massive population of young students. “Development professionals and government officials hope online learning using the computers will bridge that gap.” Still, despite India’s technical prowess, experts have long been skeptical of a good machine at such a low price. Negroponte is still chasing the $100 laptop, which he says will be released next year.