India and the $100 Laptop
Nicholas Negroponte has been in the news a lot lately with his One Laptop Per Child initiative (better known as the $100 laptop).
According to the OLPC website the goal of the $100 laptop initiative program is, “to provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment and express themselves.”
I honestly have not followed this program very closely, but I must admit when I heard of it , I thought is was an interesting idea with much potential. I think that most people would agree that education is the best way to help people in poverty overcome their situation and assist those around them in rising from the depths of poverty as well. I believe that education is the intent of Negroponte and his $100 laptop initiative. I certainly do not know all of the logistics of the program or the $100 laptop, and I have many questions. Will the laptops be capable of getting Internet access and if so, who pays for it? Who will offer tech support and training for the countries who adopt this initiative? What is the criteria for obtaining one of the laptops?
As I heard about the program, I thought most developing countries would be excited at the opportunity to offer a technological advantage to their poor, but apparently this is not the case with all countries. Recently India rejected the one-to-one program. And after reading some opinions on the matter, I guess I can see their side of the story. Why would a country spend $100 per laptop when many students do not have adequate shelter, food, or schools to attend? That being said, apparently some countries like Nigeria are open to the concept.
Do the $100 laptops have the potential to positively influence the educational systems in developing countries? I don’t know, but I am interested to find out. Hopefully a few countries will at least pilot the laptops in select areas and track what progress ensues. I know when the laptops in my school district are used effectively they make a difference in the education of our students, so maybe the $100 laptops can make a difference in the education of the students in developing countries as well.
If you are interested in reading more about the project, there are tons of articles in the news, and if you have an opinion on this matter, I would love to hear it.