I’ve written before about the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative.

Well it seems that Libya, out of all places, seems to be one of the first countries to have been fully sold on the idea!

U.S. Group Reaches Deal to Provide Laptops to All Libyan Schoolchildren – New York Times:
“When I met with Qaddafi, it had all the mystique and trimmings expected: middle of the desert, in a tent, 50 degrees C. etc.,” Mr. Negroponte, who was traveling to Asia on Tuesday, wrote in an e-mail message. “It took him very little time to find O.L.P.C. appealing as an idea.

”The idea appealed to the Libyan leader, according to Mr. Negroponte, because it fit into his political agenda of creating a more open Libya and becoming an African leader. The two men also discussed the possibility of Libya’s financing the purchase of laptops for a group of poorer African nations like Chad, Niger and Rwanda.

It is possible, Mr. Negroponte said, that Libya will become the first nation in the world where all school-age children are connected to the Internet through educational computers. “The U.S. and Singapore are not even close,” he said.

Personally, I think that putting laptops into the hand of kids, on a massive scale, is a very interesting and positive idea, perhaps even a revolutionary one. But I recently have become convinced that simply throwing technology at educational problems is only part of the answer.

Apart from tech, we need to re-invest in TEACHERS and GREAT SCHOOL BUILDINGS (there’s an interesting conversation I had about that with an extremely interesting social scientist, but that’s something for another blog post)

There have been some sad stories regarding how some technology driven initiatives in Jordan’s remote areas (or even in Amman) have come to nothing (like having the computer sit, still in their packages, in storage, because no teacher was willing to take responsibility for the safety of the ‘assets’).

What would be also interesting to see is how the Libyan bureaucracy will deal with this. A laptop for every kid in Libya by 2008 sounds very ambitious!

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2 responses to “For every schoolchild a laptop.. In Libya!!”

  1. Moey Avatar

    yes, indeed..

  2. Laith Zraikat Avatar
    Laith Zraikat

    For something like this to happen, you need a leader who is passionate enough to closely follow up on the execution of this plan. Depending on government officials who are mainly interested in enhancing their political careers without “handson” follow up- will not yield the proper results. If Qaddafi is passionate enough, I think he will pull it off.