India has the third highest number of Interet users but 80-85% of the country is still not connected to the World Wide Web Into the second decade of the 21st century, it is commonplace to speak of the information economy and the world being a connected globe. India is very much a part of that story because our country has the third-largest number of Internet users in the world, after only the US and China. But that rank hides more than it reveals since 80-85% of India is still not connected to the World Wide Web. And that, to my mind, constitutes a state of emergency. Let me explain. It is a truism to say that children are the future of any country. An investment in them and the manner in which they are brought up always prove crucial in the way they are going to be useful to themselves and to society and the country for many decades after they complete school. This, of course, means that the state of our schools is important in relation to its students, teachers and the facilities they are equipped with if our future citizens are to in any meaningful way contribute to the human resource assets of the country and also cope with the challenges of the 21st century. But this is one realm we don’t seem to be doing well at all. Year after year, the Annual Status of Education Reports by non-profit Pratham tell the sorry tale of how much schools in India lack even the basic necessities such as rooms, walls, toilets, water and, of course, teachers and their presence. I’m not an expert on that and it would be presumptuous of me to comment, but on one aspect that I have some insight is, on Internet and communication technologies (ICT) or the lack of them, in the lives of the schoolchildren. It is indeed interesting that although 80 million children are counted as dropouts, more often than not, they are found fiddling with computers and learning on their own if there is a functional computer centre near the school that would allow them to use the computers and access the Internet. In other words, many of the government school’s dropouts are computer centres’ drop-in and assets.