Teachers in the Nigerian state of Anambra are being forced to buy laptops from the government at a cost of $450 each, according to a report in the Nigerian press. The money for the computers is being taken from their salaries at $25 a month. To make matters worse, the laptops are much more expensive than many available on the market.

This scandalous situation was brought up at a meeting of the Justice, Development and Peace/Caritas meeting of the Catholic Diocese in the state, which condemned the moves and said that laptops should be provided free to teachers and that the state should also provide them with IT training. Moreover it pointed out that many teachers who are supposed to be paid an allowance for teaching in rural areas are not receiving it.

Regular readers of this site will know that many teachers in Nigeria do not even receive the minimum wage of $90 a month. Moreover, they are frequently unpaid for months on end. Added to that the school infrastructure is usually grossly inadequate and class sizes vast. 

While it is arguably important for teachers to have the benefit of information technology, as one part of their teaching strategy, the idea that they should be expected to pay for it themselves is outrageous. And in many rural areas, there is not the electricity or the connectivity to make the laptops usable, quite apart from the issues of security in unsafe buildings.  

It is interesting to note that Microsoft has been heavily engaged with Anambra state in introducing laptops to schools. Their company was paid $13.5 million by the state for training of teachers and a Microsoft partner company WaveTec Nigeria is supplying the laptops at an unknown cost. While the Gates Fondation is busy 'reforming' education in the US and crying crocodile tears for the global South, it appears that the company Gates founded is profiting from an IT scheme in a country where about 60% of the population live in absolute poverty.