New Delhi: The Human Resources Development Ministry launched the advanced version of it’s low cost tablet, Aakash 2, manufactured by Datawind Ltd., on Sunday, as part of what HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju called the government’s vision to allow every Indian “access to affordable education of good quality”.
Datawind CEO, Suneet Singh Tuli, shares the same vision.
In an interview to Firstpost, Tuli said that keeping the price affordable was very important to the government and Datawind because if the cost was high, children would not get full benefit of the experience and their learning would be restricted.
“We provide a product that can do everything else that others in the space do. Only that our product is more affordable. If kids break or lose the tablet it’s not as much a drain on parents’ resources as other more expensive tablets would be,” Tuli said.
“Our push is for kids to be able to learn in all times and all environments and for that to happen affordability is very important. If the cost was very high then parents would restrict the child from using it to its full potential. We do not want this. A child should not be restricted from real learning,” he said.
Describing a recent incident at a panel, Tuli told Firstpost that a co-panelist made a comment about the Aakash intending for it to be derogatory and calling it “a toy”. Tuli responded by saying he wished it was a toy.
“We think it’s a very important product and wish every child had the opportunity to play with it like they would a normal toy,” Tuli said.
It is the same reason that Tuli welcomes competition.
“We not just welcome competition, we hope competition will help bring prices down and develop the market, which is going to grow so much that we won’t be able to fulfill the demand alone. When we introduced Aakash last year, the closest product costed Rs 15,000-20,000. Today we have tablets for Rs 5,000. We want the prices to come down further, so it’s more accessible to all,” Tuli said.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Development, on Sunday, launched the advanced version of India’s tablet, Aakash 2. The Centre will procure the tablet from Datawind Ltd at a cost of Rs 2,263 and give it to students, through schools, at a 50 percent subsidised price of Rs 1,132.