Some days back I encountered a technical problem and needed to replace my computer’s RAM; being new in the city I didn’t know much about the Computer stores, so just asked one of my students if he knows any good hardware store. What he told me in reply was though not new but very interesting! He told me about a market where I could get about 5 RAMs just for Rs.50 (less than 1USD), but with no guarantee.
Later on verifying form other sources I found that the market does exist. Not only this single market, but also same sort of markets exist in almost all big cities of Pakistan where the computer hardware, electronic and miscellaneous mechanical products are sold per kilogram. At this one of the interviews of Head of IT Ministry, Dr. Atta Ur Rehman (published in Dawn Education some one year back) glimpsed in my mind, and I realize why Mr. Atta said that he’s going to produce 1500 PhDs in one year. Just imagine, you’re getting technology per kilograms, i.e. laptop, Rs.2000/kg, Hard Disk Rs.60/kg. Now, who the hell can stop you being the leader of IT industry!
Well, I’m not well aware of the policy of Dr Saheb, since we’ve not been briefed about it anywhere in the past and there are no such chances in future as well. Mr. Atta alone cannot be blamed for the whole situation as all this works in a system. And that system comprises of economic policies and social action programs along with planning in educational concerns.
Being specific where to the computer related parts, which are, being sold per kilogram is something of utmost importance with reference to Economy, IT Sector, and of course the ultimate effect on society as a whole. Though a large number of people who are living below the poverty line are associated with this business and this is their only living, does it make any sense of planning? Is this the way we’ll create 1500 PhDs a year? Will this practice lead towards any economic and social development?
I personally don’t know the answers of the questions above but too keen to know the facts. Having some understanding of Economic and Educational Planning, I know that if the black markets for all IT products are caught and banned not only a lot of Federal Revenues will increase but the doors for the production of all this stuff will also be possible with in the country.
We’re still not able to make a computer chip of our own! And all this is because of smuggling of products and accessories through neighboring countries. Control over smuggling and the better use of grants in IT sector can lead towards the home manufacturing of hardware reducing the cost of production and hence a real decrease in prices is possible.
Coming to the effect of this alarming situation on Education sector, if prices of technology decrease, the widespread of it is possible, with which masses can be benefited from the technology. Not at a great extent but imagine if it helps a public school to have a single computer, many children can be benefited from it. It can also reduce the cost of Education if planned well, encouraging more and more people to educate their children.
My suggestions can be ignored or rejected by any Ministry mentioned above in the same way as Insha Jee’s educational reforms were. He was asked to develop his own curriculum and syllabus and he ended up with “Urdu Ki Akhri Kitab (The Last Book of Urdu)”. But poor me! I don’t want to write “Technology ki Akhri Kitab (The Last Book of Technology”.