Daily Archives: November 28th, 2007

Politics ‘stifling $100 laptop’

From BBC News :

A lack of “big thinking” by politicians has stifled a scheme to distribute laptops to children in the developing world, a spokesman has said.

Walter Bender of One Laptop per Child (OLPC) said politicians were unwilling to commit because “change equals risk”.

But, he said, there needed to be a “dramatic change” because education in many countries was “failing” children.

In an interview with the BBC, Nigeria’s education minister questioned the need for laptops in poorly equipped schools.

Dr Igwe Aja-Nwachuku said: “What is the sense 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.”

The previous government of Nigeria had committed to buying one million laptops.

When I first heard about this plan, I thought; “What a good way to educate poor children, especially in areas that had easy broadband access.”

But apparently, some politicians, mainly the ones in the countries that need these laptops the most, don’t like this idea. Why?

Sure, these kids need schools too, but in this age of the ‘virtual classroom’, isn’t that a better plan than no school at all?

IMHO, there’s something more here than the supposed desire to build brick and mortar schoolrooms, and not relying on computers totally.

I’m reminded of the saying by Thomas Jefferson; “If we’re going to have a successful democratic society, we have to have a well educated and healthy citizenry”.

These aren’t principles the worlds’ elites obviously believe in.