By Sudarshana Banerjee

A private school in Mumbai has made the iPad2 mandatory for its roughly 840 students. Podar International is the only school in Mumbai and the eighth in the country to get the Council of International Schools Accreditation. The school sent out a circular earlier during the month informing parents that the school management has decided to introduce iPads in classrooms from the next academic year onwards. Parents can even buy the iPads from the school, which is offering a financing scheme as well. The school’s decision was leaked to the media, and has caused quite an uproar.

What causes concern is that the school has offered to sell the iPads to its students, and even though the iPads are not one hundred per cent mandatory as has been later clarified by authorities, they were apparently just that. The iPads are also being seen as luxury by some, and not really necessary for education, though undoubtedly nice to have, especially as the average Indian family may be surviving on $500 a month. But why iPads in the first place? Director and principal with the organization Dr. Mrs. Vandana Lulla has been quoted in the media saying “We have a parent working for Apple.” She also says “iPad2 has the best applications.”

Apple products are in high demand in affluent India, where a section of consumers crave the latest gadgets and can well afford the newest gizmos many times over. The Indian IT ministry has also launched its version of Android tablets called Akash that retail for around $50 a pop.