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Sugata Mitra

Searching for India's Hole in the Wall

Michael Trucano's picture
two holes in the wall, actually

I recently found myself with a free morning in Delhi, and thought I would make use of the time by searching for a certain rather famous Hole In The Wall.

Some quick background: Back in 1999 professor Sugata Mitra decided to conduct a very simple, small-scale exeriment: He put a computer behind some protective plexiglass, connected it to a joystick, and embedded the whole thing in a wall in a Delhi slum.  They he stood back and watched (both literally, and via a small video camera placed nearby).  It turned out that, left to their own devices, children could 'learn computers' outside of the formal education system, unsupervised. Hearing about this experience was said to be the inspiration for the story that eventually became an Oscar-winning movie, Slumdog Millionaire. The Hole in the Wall had been in my thoughts for a number of reasons, including that fact that it had recently been awarded one of the Macarthur Foundation's DML prizes.  (Disclaimer: A company, HiWEL, was formed by NIIT to take this work further, and it has received funding from the IFC, part of the World Bank Group. I have had no connection with this project or its principals.)