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Negroponte: Rich countries to buy laptops for poor

an image of Nicholas Negroponte and Kofi Annan demonstrating the OLPC laptop computerFor such a well-meaning and competently managed project, the One Laptop Per Child program has managed to attract its fair share of detractors and critics.

However, ideas abound if the OLPC project is fulfilled as intended by Nicholas Negroponte et al, we could be witness to a wonderful international gesture of good will:

“Nicholas Negroponte, head of the project responsible for the $100 laptop, has revealed that One Laptop Per Child is in discussions with a number of wealthy countries about orders for the low-cost devices–though they will be buying them for poorer economies, not themselves.”

This is wonderful news, but as covered in the previous post, there are still hurdles to overcome. But progress is being made and several nations have committed to funding this project:

“At the ITU Telecom World conference here, Negroponte said the OLPC is in discussions with Finland, which may order laptops for Namibia; with the United Arab Emirates over purchasing some for Pakistan; and with France to sponsor laptop buying for French-speaking African countries.

The OLPC is now in discussions with Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines and a group of eight Central American countries that will be seeking financing and placing an order as a single unit.”

Education is the cornerstone of civilization. To educate is to empower. To empower is to stand back and admire as people no longer hold a begging bowl in the air, but instead stand proud and hold out a strong hand to greet you with.

Some might say those words are quite saccharine, and I wouldn’t disagree. But I have a theory. If this is the world we have, without trying our best and sometimes doing our worst, what might we achieve if we really set our minds to the task of creating a better world for everyone?

To do that, you begin with a sound education for every child. Now that’s a sweet idea indeed…

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

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