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OLPC struggling for adoption

by Parm Mann on 27 November 2007, 09:36

Tags: OLPC

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Speaking on behalf of OLPC, Walter Bender claimed that politicians were unwilling to buy into the OLPC scheme because "change equals risk".

The aim of the OLPC, a non-profit organisation is to develop a low-cost laptop that it hopes will revolutionise how we educate children on a global scale. The OLPC XO, the first model, went on sale in the US on November 12th and is in the process of being rolled out to third world countries.

Despite original adoption of the scheme looking set to be in large numbers, the expectations may have been set too high. Speaking to the BBC, Nigeria's education minister, Dr Igwe Aja-Nwachuku said "What is the essence of introducing One Laptop per Child when they don't have seats to sit down and learn; when they don't have uniforms to go to school in, where they don't have facilities?"

"We are more interested in laying a very solid foundation for quality education which will be efficient, effective, accessible and affordable."

Nigeria, who were previously set to purchase one million OLPCs now appear to be re-thinking the scheme. Walter Bender of OLPC insists politicians aren't doing enough, claiming "You've got to be big, you've got to be bold. And what has happened is that there has been an effort to say 'don't take any risks - just do something small, something incremental'."

"It feels safe but by definition what you are ensuring is that nothing happens."

In the US and Canada, the "Give One, Get One" scheme which offers buyers the chance to "donate the revolutionary XO laptop to a child in a developing nation, and also receive one for the child in your life in recognition of your contribution" has been extended through to December 31st having so far proven popular.

Further reading
Source: BBC - Politicians 'stifling' $100 laptop
Official OLPC website
Give One, Get One

HEXUS Forums :: 7 Comments

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They've got this completely the wrong way around, but at least something is being done. Why teach someone in the third world how to ride a bike if they dont have a bike? Foundations need to get there first, ahead of laptops.
But how many text books, pads of paper and pens is a child going to get through in 10 years of education?
But how many text books, pads of paper and pens is a child going to get through in 10 years of education?

exactly, thats the whole idea, buying one of these is cheaper than buying everything it will replace.
the other point is, that it is more or less nessicary for country to compete in international markets to use computers, and ergo, have computer litterate people.

i personally just think they OLPC makers are stupid for not marketing these to first world countries, surely they could still be very useful there, and once the technology was proven there it would be easier to market it to 3rd world countries. i would imagine that these would be easy to sell through pc world etc.
Good point on the sales. Try and buy a eee pc for Christmas…
But how many text books, pads of paper and pens is a child going to get through in 10 years of education?

On the other hand, paper, pens and textbooks can't break down and don't require power. Textbooks are reusable.

And are there any significant benefits to having one laptop per child?

If your aim is to get them computer-literate, you could just have a computer room and IT classes at school for them to learn in.
I mean, I would've thought that even one laptop per child in this country would have been a bit extravagant…
I just think that the money would be much better spent in other areas (as suggested by Nigeria's education minister).