“It will, it will fail,” Well, you have those words over and over again. What will it fail from? Over expectation? By the way what are you expecting? A laptop that can serve as an umbrella? Books and slates on top of the head have done that for a long time now. Laptops that serve as umbrellas because sometimes the rain pours without warning and you know sometimes, the roads are slippery and puddles happen to be near by? Laptops that can withstand very hot temperatures (“but sir, there was a shade there when we began playing”)
Then there is my complain, that design. Just because it’s meant for children it doesn’t have to be designed in whatever weird shape and colour that some people say children like a lot. Designing an education tool in such a way that it looks like a toy will result into its mistreatment. I have seen children schools with those smiling bears drawn everywhere, toys all over the place but their blackboards are just the same as any academic institution. I hope you get my point here. Okay the reason I am complaining here is simple. I don’t want to ashamed of carrying this laptop just because ‘it’s for children.’ I have been open with this one. I must get my hands on one of these laptops whether hook or crook. So it will fail? I pray very hard that am wrong on what I am going to say. And if am wrong let me be wrong from the beginning. It won’t fail from the manufacturing side of it. It is obvious the guys there are damn good. What can make it fail to me is at the receiving side. The first one is the policy. As they say they are focusing on dealing with governments. Not a bad idea but am not comfortable with that idea. Governments this side have always made wrong decisions when it comes to technology. When a government makes a mistake, it is big and it is ugly. It is courtesy of these systematic mistakes that some of our countries in Africa are ever lagging in anything progressive.
Imagine some scenario here. What if a country cannot afford to buy for all its children the laptops what will it do? Give them to rural areas? Give them to urban or semi-urban areas? What do you expect now? Noise, and more noise everywhere. More bickering and more parliamentary sessions while the laptops lie idle.
Let’s imagine some more. Who will repair these machines when they break down? (Or may be we are too hopeful that they don’t break down.) Is it the teacher who has access to a screw driver, or a parent who has a bicycle spoke flattened at one end or some district technician where you have to fill in a five page questionnaire of your sex, location and how the laptop got damaged then you wait for one month for it to get repaired?
In my village we have a saying that goes ‘many rats cannot close a hole.’ The idea is this, in the end the hole remains open and in the neighbourhood there is a snake and this particular snake is hungry and it also happens to be searching for some food. There is that problem of these screaming banshees (most likely around Silicon Valley). Who go ‘it will fail, it will fail.’ They are at the top of the game and have been reaping lots of money in the computer industry. The scaring part is that these horrors in blue suits have agents in every strategic location on the planet. Agents who are also very vocal some money is not coming their way. These guys hold governments at neck point screaming ‘copyright, piracy, whatever.’ Now, governments are also tuned up to that kind of music because they are sure of money coming up in taxes that they are not ready to listen to any new ideas coming from another side. By the way, some of these agents are the ‘experts’ who give the advice that governments rely on and what is wrong with giving wrong advice so that a project fails?(who is right all the time anyway?) All I have seen is that they are in a great supply in my country. These ladies and gentlemen is what am scared of.
My view is this: There are hurdles we must face. It is us to find the solutions. These laptops will fail if that’s what we want.