Keeping Afloat in a WWW-world

I received an SMS just moments ago: “A thirteen-year old’s day in Surat: school 7 to 2. Daily tuitions 4:30 to 7:30. Saw ICSE standard 8th textbooks. Detailed and depressing. What a state!”

No surprise to me as I have observed the same sort of insanity in the case of the children of friends and family.
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The OLPC is Inappropriate for India

I was invited to write a guest post on One Laptop Per Child News by Wayan Vota in connection with the recent news that 250,000 OLPC laptops have been ordered by two government agencies in India and one private sector firm. And I complied. Thanks, Wayan. I appreciate the opportunity. Below the fold I reproduce the post in full.
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The Rational IT Policy

So it’s time to unveil the IT policy that I had been promising for a while. I have already laid a bit of ground work in the previous three posts — “BJP’s IT for All“, “A Rational IT Policy: The Preliminary Bits“, and “Of IT and Pascal’s Wager.” In the following, I will conclude the introduction with a brief discussion on tools as means, and then present my version of a rational IT policy.
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Of IT and Pascal’s Wager

Technological Idiocy

Technological hubris is sometimes the result of infantile solipsism commonly encountered among those who are – paradoxically – at the two opposite ends of a spectrum of technical competence: those who are understand technology very intimately and those who have a very feeble grasp of what technology is. The former see the world and its concerns as merely a collection of technical problems just waiting to be solved by the available large collection of expensive technical wizardry; the latter are ignorant of technology but have a magical belief in the awe inspiring power of technology to solve all problems, technological or not.
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A Rational IT Policy: The Introductory Bits

Follow up to BJP’s Policy of “IT for All”.

In the following, I will present the features of a rational “IT Policy” and argue why it makes sense. This is only an academic exercise as this is not likely to be followed by the policymakers of India. Color me cynical but if Indian policymakers were in the habit of making rational policies, India would not be a desperately poor country, would it? Why India gets saddled with moth eaten policies made by inept policymakers is a different matter that we will save for a rainy day. But first, let’s talk IT and what it is.
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BJP’s “IT for All”

Information technology (IT) is arguably one of the more remarkable products of the advanced industrialized countries (AIC). Its development in the AICs and subsequent widespread use there indicates that IT tools are not only a consequence of economic growth and development, but is also the cause of further economic growth. Developing countries such as India are attempting to catch up and they are fortunate to have the use of IT at an earlier stage of their development than the currently developed countries had when they were developing.

I am pleased to note that the BJP believes in the use of technology for development. The BJP recognizes that IT enhances productivity and increases production. Their press release on the IT vision document is unequivocal and clearly lays out the components of the policy. It should be required reading for pundits and lay persons alike. Their policy declaration “IT for All” is bold, visionary, timel and ambitious. It is also fatally flawed and wrong-headed.
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