Ezer, J. (2006). Gandhi’s third assassination: Information and communications technology education in India. Information Technology for Development (12)3, 201-212.
In “Gandhi’s third assassination: Information and communications technology education in India,” Ezer (2006) interviews faculty and students in India to get an impression of the attitudes towards ICT and ICT education in India. He concludes that students and faculty show optimism about ICT and seem to have whole heartedly adopted the Western model of individualistic, rational and imperialistic success. He uses his conclusion to claim that this model does not follow Ghandian philosophy. Ezer’s findings indicate that although faculty members and students in India see ICT as a means for overcoming the myriad of development challenges in India, this aspect of ICT seems to be overshadowed by their focus on ICT as the pathway to success for Indian individuals and to global economic power for India.
Relevance to Cultural Studies in Instructional Technology
Ezer’s focus relies heavily on the cultural context of ICT and ICT education in India. He lays the groundwork for his findings about attitudes towards ICT and ICT education by discussing the authority dependent roots of the educational system in India. Ezer explores what Indian faculty and students believe to be the purpose of ICT. In particular, he poses the question of whether ICT and ICT education should work towards the benefit of individuals or society. His findings provide some empirical evidence to refute commonly held assumptions about Indian collectivist tendencies.
This article has been particularly helpful to me in providing an empirical study on the attitudes of the Indian academic community towards ICT and the future of India in general. I have observed for myself that there seems to be an almost giddy love for IT in the people I know in and from India. I expected to find more skepticism as I began to research about the topic in academia, but, as Ezer’s findings suggest, skepticism towards ICT is not as prevalent in the Indian academic community as in other parts of the world. In my research, I find Marxist type critiques and other skeptics coming mostly from writers outside of India, though many are Non-resident Indians. As I reflect back on my last article review, ending with a hurrah for embracing ICT, I am glad to be reminded to keep healthy skepticism alive.
What I was most pleased to find in this article, however, was some confirmation of my own suspicions that the old model of Indians as collectivist needs to be modified and modernized. In my own experience with my in-law Indian cousins and peers, I find a great push towards individualism and independence in my generation. As this shift is an important characteristic to consider in the dynamics of workforce development in India, I have been looking for empirical studies to back up my own hunches. Ezer does a thorough job of providing examples that show college students and recent college graduates in India are not displaying collectivist ideology. They choose highly successful IT entrepreneurs as their heroes and model their life plans towards this type of success.
Another important finding in this article to me is that of the “reverence for rational thought and management metrics.” I am particularly interested in this need for clear data in India, and its impact on instructional design and development towards innovation. Innovation is the primary drive for workforce development in India, yet innovation is notoriously difficult to measure.