PCs, Internet and Literacy

Atanu Dey writes:

The undeniable fact is that literacy is the basis for all development. Literacy (and numeracy) is absolutely positively acutely necessary. You have to have a literate population for there to be any hope of any advancementsocial, economic, physical, whatever. Given a literate population, even in the absence of new-fangled high tech equipment, you can have wonderful outcomes; absent a literate population, no amount of high-tech gizmos will amount to a hill of beans.

Every notable invention, every innovation, every advancement made by humans have been made by humans who have been literate and they did it without PCs and internet. That statement is obviously true until about 30 years ago. PCs and the internet have arguably enhanced the power of humans to innovate more rapidly but the preconditions are that of literacy and resources to afford those tools. The lesson for the development of India is straightforward. If you want the rural populations to benefit from the use of high technology, then you have to make them literate first. If you dont make them literate, then you can forget about bridging the so-called digital divide.

Here is my prescription: First, make the people literate. How? See my modest proposal to make India literate within a few years.) Second, figure out which of the problems admit a least cost solution which involves PCs and internet. Finally invest in PCs and internet.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.