Domestic, Elementary / Primary / Junior, Emerging, Markets, Preschool / Infant School, Required, Technology - Written by Eleni Glader on Thursday, December 22, 2011 7:49 - 0 Comments
One Laptop Per Child: What’s the Status?
Ever wonder what’s happening with one laptop per child after the media hype? It’s still on. Nicholas Negraponte and his team at One Laptop Per Child Foundation (OLPC) have faced some challenges along the way resulting in lower than expected distribution, tweaking for improvement and cheaper competition. But the nearly six-year old initiative is still a success. OLPC’s website reports that more than 2 million laptops were “deployed” in 42 countries, with about 2 million in Latin America and half a million in Africa and the rest of the world.
In The New York Times article “A Few Stumbles on the Road to Connectivity,” Alice Rawsthorn outlines “undermet” objectives, challenges and lessons learned:
Back in January 2006, he forecast that it would distribute at least seven million laptops over the next few years, with each one costing no more than $100. So far, OLPC has shipped less than a third of that number and, despite its best efforts, the price has crept up to between $209 and $229 for the current model.
Some of the governments that initially promised to buy OLPC’s laptops have lost power or reneged on their commitments. And the laptop’s price has been inflated by the U.S. dollar’s weakness and the soaring cost of components.
That said, OLPC has encountered difficulties, and its designers have had to modify the original laptops since they went into daily use in schools. The shiny plastic on the case was replaced by a tougher rubberized material. The keyboard was strengthened with a steel plate, and its lights removed to reduce energy consumption. OLPC had to add little feet to the machines used in countries like Nigeria, where school desks tended to be slanted. It has also trained local technicians to repair the laptops, rather than running a centralized maintenance program.
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