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Laptops for Libya

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One Laptop Per Child, a U.S. based nonprofit organization has come to terms on an agreement with the Libyan government that will provide low-cost educational laptop computers by 2008 to the country’s 1.2 million school children.

The O.L.P.C. project spearheaded by Nicholas Negroponte is due to receive a $250 million investment as part of the agreement terms. In return, the nation is slated to receive 1.2 million laptops, a server for each school, satellite Internet service and a slew of other technical support services.

The laptops will include a wireless Internet connection, a built-in video camera, and a hand crank rechargeable battery.

The ultimate plan is to provide a laptop computer for Libyan students that will cost around $100 to produce. Quanta Computer, Inc. based out of Thailand will handle all the manufacturing of the machines.

Mass production is scheduled to begin in mid 2007.

Unable to reach an agreement with Microsoft to offer Windows at an affordable price for the machines, Negroponte turned to Linux to provide operating system support for the laptop devices.

The O.L.P.C. agreement is viewed by most as part of Libya’s recent attempts to transform its national identity from that of a terrorist haven into the image of a progressive leader in Africa’s educational, economic and technological development.

Negroponte reflects on meeting with Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in a New York Times piece on the agreement.

“When I met with Qaddafi, it had all the mystique and trimmings expected: middle of the desert, in a tent, 50 degrees C. etc. It took him very little time to find O.L.P.C. appealing as an idea.”

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time M.I.T. researcher has been involved in bringing educational technology to underprivileged nations.

According to the Times article, Mr. Negroponte was part of an operation to provide laptops to Cambodian children.

What was the first English word the students learned to speak?

Google.

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.

Laptops for Libya
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