Students and teaching fraternity at the Panjab University do not seem to be quite impressed by the worlds cheapest tablet – Aakash. Even when this 7-inch touchscreen computing and internet device was offered at a subsidised price of Rs 1,100,it could not generate much interest.
Seeing this poor response,the University has extended the deadline for submitting applications. No new deadline has been set as the university authorities are waiting for a rise in demand. The extension has not increased students interest yet,judging by the few applications received. Surprisingly,the tablet was not even able to draw the tech-savvy Science and Computer Science departments attention.
Despite having a huge number of students,around 14,000,on the campus,only 540 applications were received till the January 10 deadline. This in spite of personal communication by the Vice-Chancellor during the meeting and intimation through e-mails,only one department expressed its desire to buy the tablet.
This is not the Universitys proposal but a request from the the Ministry of Human Resource Development as half the price would be subsidised for the students and faculty members. The request was sent to all the department heads to submit their demand till January 10. Only Physics department,with a requirement of 540 tablets for students and teachers,has sent in its request, said project coordinator Dr Tankeshwer Kumar,who is the Computer Centre Director.
Speaking about the possible reasons for this,Indu Chhabra,Head of Department of Computer Science and Applications said,Around 25 per cent students out of the total strength have submitted their names for the tablet. Student strength was very thin due to extreme weather conditions and vacations which could be a reason for this less number of applications. Nowadays,almost everyone owns a laptop,so probably students see no reason to buy this tablet.
Other departments like Mathematics had directly communicated this in their response that the tablet would not be of any educational use to the students.