The Right To Education As Cultural Imperialism: Through The Lens Of The One Laptop Per Child Project
thesisposted on 17.04.2019, 08:21 by Anna E. Kweskin
This research uses the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) information technology educational project as a lens to examine the right to education. It was chosen as it purports to empower the children of the developing world to learn. The research looks at the ideological underpinnings and embodiment of Western values in the right to education. Specifically it looks at how those values are disseminated through human rights education and the imposition of a school system through which hegemonic power is exercised. It also enquires into the connection between information technology and education, through Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D), in order to assess the values which are embodied and promoted through this area of education. As educational development projects are specifically aimed at developing world countries, the methodological approach employed is the use of third world approaches to international law (TWAIL) as the conceptual framework of this critique. It depicts the cultural imperialist oppression of the developing world by the developed world shrouded under the promise of empowerment and development. It portrays this neo-colonialist device as part of the broader structure of international law which is built on economic disparity, subjugation and a colonial heritage. The OLPC project is a useful lens in that it encompasses the rhetoric and ideology of ICT4D: education, development and technology, which are examined separately and together. Through TWAIL this research explores the argument that international perpetuates inequality in relation to development. It identifies cultural imperialism as a form of oppression in an educational context. It then attempts to assess whether empowerment is possible through an ICT4D approach. It uses the largest implementation of the OLPC project in Uruguay as the basis for this enquiry. As a result it finds that there is a strong correlation between education and cultural imperialism.