On the face of it, Tamil Nadu’s free laptop programme has all the attributes of a disruptive innovation that could allow the state to leap ahead of the rest of India in terms of empowering a whole generation of children.
J. Jayalalithaa’s government is giving away 6.8 million laptops in the next five years to students of government-aided higher secondary schools and colleges, at a cost of Rs10,200 crore.
Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa. Photo: PTi
Indeed, there are tantalizing glimpses of the possibilities this programme opens up, as seen in the report on Page 10. But digging a little deeper reveals the flaws in the thinking. The top-down approach doesn’t work, especially if the base is too weak to carry the sudden added weight of all that’s thrust upon it. An avowedly populist measure could still have had an enormous effect if only some homework had been done on preparing the ground.
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