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The Aakash, India's $35 Tablet for Education and Development: How to enable the next billion Internet users?



When: Thursday, December 8, 2011, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. ET

Where: Preston Auditorium and Live webcast/Twitter/Adobe Connect

Keynote Speaker: Suneet Tuli, CEO, Data Wind

Discussants: Mike Trucano, Senior ICT for Education Specialist, HDNED
Joshua Goldstein, Mobile Apps Spec., ICT Knowledge Platform

Moderator: Philippe Dongier, Sector Manager, ICT Unit, SDN

This event is co-sponsored by the World Bank's EduTech Thematic Group

Recorded Aakash webcast 

World Bank Live coverage

View Presentation


On 5 October 2011, Indian Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal, announced the launch of a new low-cost educational tablet--the Aakash. The Aakash has been described by supporters as heralding a new 'Internet revolution' within Indian education, with the potential to be as revolutionary for educational computing as the mobile phone has been for personal communications. Its critics have noted this is not the first time such a device has been promised for India, recalling the fanfare that greeted earlier devices, such as the Simputer and the '$100 laptop' (OLPC) project. What's different this time? Is this simply an idea--and vision--whose time has come? What role (if any) should government play in promoting--and possibly subsidizing, as with the Aakash--innovative products and approaches in this area? What does the mass availability of sophisticated, inexpensive computing mean for the delivery of public accountability and services in different sectors? How can development agencies like the World Bank support such initiatives and contribute to their sustainability and broader social and economic impact? Is there a need for an ecosystem approach to such initiatives?

You are invited to join a fascinating discussion with Suneet Singh Tuli, the CEO of DataWind, the company that developed the Aakash in partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology Rajasthan. We will learn more about this high profile initiative, help separate the hope from the hype, and gain a glimpse into the future of low cost computing in developing countries. Mr. Tuli will provide a background introduction to DataWind, and will talk about sustainable business models to drive broad adoption of computing and Internet devices in the developing world. Focusing on device, content and access as the three necessary pieces of the puzzle, he will present DataWind’s vision on developing sustainable ecosystems for each of these.

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This event is supported by the ICT Knowledge Platform externally known as the Open Development Technology Alliance (ODTA). ODTA is a joint initiative by the World Bank Institute and the Information and Communication Technology Unit of the World Bank and other internal and external partners created with the objective to enhance accountability and improve the delivery and quality of public services through technology-enabled citizen engagement, leveraging innovation, knowledge and technology from social innovators, technology companies, and civil society. ODTA supports open development ecosystems and the integration of technologies to give citizens' voice and improve accountability over public service delivery through knowledge products, applications and expert connections.

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