The distribution of free laptops to students of government-run institutes (“An excellent scheme,” editorial, Sept. 19), in Tamil Nadu, is a welcome measure in the direction of providing free education. But merely equipping a student with a laptop without adequate faculty to teach him to use it properly will nullify the intention. Instead of grooming him into a coding expert, he should be nurtured into a personality with comprehensive knowledge of providing solutions to problems. The laptop should also be provided with open source software.
Suryanarayanan S., Chennai.
The lack of proper teachers to impart computer technical education should not be a stumbling block. The government can adopt e-education, as is done in the Kendriya Vidyalayas in some parts of Gujarat. The scheme is reported to be popular. This will help facilitate students acquire technical skills besides enabling savings for the State exchequer.
N.R. Ramachandran, Chennai.
I can't help but being pessimistic. What software will the laptops contain that might be useful? Will the students be bothered about care and maintenance? What access do they have to outside data banks when they live in areas with little online connectivity? A huge percentage of these students may not have typing skills and may not be well versed in English. Instead, the cost of 20 laptops (identified as Rs. 10,000 a unit) could have been used to build a computer-dedicated classroom at a school and hire a qualified computer science teacher.
T. Adams, Madurai.