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|Free laptops is not the answer. What is?|
|Posted by: Susan Einhorn|
|To loud applause at a special distribution ceremony on Pakistan Day, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif declared: “We do not give weapons in the hands of youngsters, we give them laptops; we give them education.” The laptop scheme is the brainchild of kid brother Shahbaz Sharif, chief minister of Punjab. He says that the Punjab government plans to distribute a further 300,000 laptops — in addition to the 100,000 already distributed — as a “weapon against poverty and ignorance”.
The Sharifs are surely to be commended for preferring computers over Kalashnikovs (some of their political rivals would want it the other way around). But laptops are not silver bullets that can transform Pakistan’s education. Cost is not the main issue. Of course, we do know that Dell laptops, purchased at Rs 37,700 apiece, are more expensive than the Rs2,200 indigenous product developed by Tata for use in India’s schools. Possible cuts and commissions by middlemen, and allegations of unfair distribution, also cannot be ruled out. But this too is a peripheral matter.
|Source: The Express Tribune (Pakistan) | Published: April 29th, 2012|
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