The One Laptop School: Equipping Rural Elementary Schools in South India through Public Private Partnerships
This articleΓÇÖs purpose is to report on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) program in South India that provides information and communication technology (ICT) to rural elementary schools. The article examines the current status of rural, government-run elementary schools in India by reviewing reports like the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) in India. Challenges like teacher absences, student drop-outs, lack of electricity, lack of separate toilets for genders, and a lack of teaching resources will be discussed. To meet these challenges, the article will describe the rise in popularity of IndiaΓÇÖs PPPs. Then the article moves to a case study investigation of a PPP, called the SSA Foundation, which implements a ΓÇ£one laptop per schoolΓÇ¥ program in rural areas in the Indian States of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Using ethnographic data from field research, the case study includes a description of how the students in a rural Karnataka elementary school use their schoolΓÇÖs laptop. The school is situated in a small village where most travel is non-motorized.┬á Walking, usually without shoes, is the main form of transportation.┬á A bicycle is considered a luxury.┬á Most villagers work in the surrounding ragi and millet fields; laboring, often with only simple tool blades. Wood fires are the main source of fuel for cooking.┬á In this village, the schoolΓÇÖs laptop has become a prized possession. The case study offers a ΓÇ£thick descriptionΓÇ¥ (Geertz, 1973) of how the village schoolΓÇÖs students use the laptop for learning basic computing skills and for learning English.
Keywords: elementary schooling; educational technology, Public Private Partnerships, rural India, sociotechnical narratives
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