A $10 Laptop- An Utopia or Endeavour Worth Attention

Many projects of a cheap computer affordable by the children of even the poorest of the families and with Internet connectivity have been undertaken. The ides is to give a gadget that can ease the life through knowledge sharing to the best.

As reported, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore has come with a prototype design for the laptop that currently costs $ 100. However, in three years’ time, the cost could come down to $ 10 (Rs 450) through innovation. Also, the huge volumes of production can further reduce the price.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology had been working on a laptop for $ 150 and offered it for the Sakshat programme. As it appears, HRD ministry has a plan of its own and backing up $10 laptop. Prof. Balakrishnan of the Indian Institute of Science and Prof Ashok Jhunjunwala of IIT Madras, are working on the project.

IISc has designed the prototype low-cost laptop that currently costs $ 100. As reported, the scientists working on the project could bring down cost rapidly to $ 50. Also the sheer volumes (of laptops) required will further bring it down.

The ambitious plan is to bridge the digital divide and provide digital literacy for the poorest of the poor.

Recently launched, interactive, one-stop, education portal, Sakshat that is available gratis to anyone who wants to use it, is an effort in that direction.

CII has also come in the fray. Shiksha India is a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) initiative. It has developed a collaborative e-learning system and a portal http://www.eshikshaindia.in. The idea is to help students understand difficult concepts better. Anyone can access it free of cost. The portal has courses designed for students in the 12-17 years age group on subjects like physics, biology, chemistry, English and geography. The lessons are in three languages – English, Hindi and Tamil and will gradually have translations in other languages as well.

A lot of effort is being made use digital gadgets to ease and improve the education and learning for all. The ministry is also planning to create virtual laboratories and a virtual technical university to combat and mainstream the battle to bridge the digital literacy gap. The “anchor” institutions in the country are being roped in for the project. IIT Delhi will anchor virtual labs. IIT Kharagpur will anchor cognitive learning and the virtual technical university. While robotics will be responsibility of IIT Bombay, promotion of online courses will be by IGNOU and NIOS.

The technology will take away the need of teachers. And the schools will need to employ more and more facilitators to make students use the gadgets and sources of learning.

Read The face of the $100 laptop

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