In October 2011, Sonora State added the “right to connectivity” to the first article of the state Constitution, along with the right to liberty, education, and housing. They were the first Mexican state to adopt such a right, and one of only three states in the world. People are still writing about it today as an example of how to provide effective access to knowledge – as debates unfold over how to keep the Internet open.
From the announcement last year:
La iniciativa que adiciona un párrafo segundo al Artículo 1° de la Constitución Política del Estado de Sonora fue promovida por los diputados Enrique Reina Lizárraga y Gorgonia Rosas López, a fin de transformar el acceso a Internet en un derecho o garantía de la ley fundamental local.
“Es decir, que el Estado deberá garantizar el acceso a la conectividad de redes digitales de información y de comunicación dentro del territorio sonorense a todos sus ciudadanos, pues este tipo de servicios cada día han logrado convertirse en un factor indispensable de cualquier ciudadano.”
The initiative, which adds a second paragraph to Article 1 of the Constitution of the State of Sonora, was promoted by representatives Enrique Reina Lizarraga and Gorgonia Rosas López, to transform Internet access into a fundamental right or guarantee of the local law.
“This means that the State must guarantee access to digital information and communication networks within the Sonoran territory, to all its citizens, because daily access to such a service has become indispensable for any citizen.“
Kudos again to Sonora for their farsighted planning. They not only support free software as a foundation for learning, but have recognized connectivity as infrastructure for modern life, and not a luxury.
Professor Hopeton Dunn of the Mona School of Business in Jamaica writes and speaks about the need for more widesperad access to computers in his country. Citing a recent ICT indicators survey, he notes that Jamaica has hit a plateau of access, and that while projects like OLPC are introducing more children to computers and the Internet (a kind thing for him to say, since we are working with under 1000 children and teachers in the region, largely thanks to the efforts of Sameer Verma and Charlie Nesson), new plans are needed to provide access in the workplace and at home for the whole country.
Read more at the Jamaica Observer.
Two weeks back, the Financial Times posted an essay by Gillian Tett about OLPC, titled “Billions of children could be transformed by cheap computers” (and later, “Why logging on should be child’s play”). The article eventually concludes that children’s lives could be transformed, and that being able to ‘log on’ to the Internet should probably be child’s play for all children — but was much more ambivalent than the titles suggest.
They ran a long reader response to the article the following week, which is worth sharing:
As a fellow anthropologist in the financial sector, I am surprised by Gillian Tett asking “Could the idea fly? Should it?” regarding the distribution of $200 connected green laptops to children in the developing world. I similarly question her implication that this is a local Latin American initiative by One Laptop Per Child, as part of a grand “intellectual vision” recently developed by neuroscientists.
In the 21st century, we cannot separate computer literacy from the traditional “3Rs”. The luxury of computer literacy is the competitive edge of the developed world’s affluent children…
One Laptop Per Child’s mission statement has no neuroscientific technobabble: to supply cheap, green, durable, connected laptops for “collaborative, joyful, and self-empowered learning … [and] a brighter future”. Currently, 2.1m XO computers have been deployed to children and teachers worldwide in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
For Ms Tett to ask “if” or “should” this happen is like asking if the horse Goldikova should race. The little green laptop has legs – and it’s a winner.