Breaking News: OLPC India Orders 250,000 XO Laptops!


Satish Jha, president and CEO of OLPC India has announced via IDG that two government organizations and one private-sector entity placed a 250,000 XO laptop order. Apparently, the XO laptops will be distributed to about 1,500 schools, starting in June.

Satish Jha of OLPC India

While Satish didn't name any of the sponsors, it looks like the Digital Bridge Foundation, part of Reliance ADA Group, could be the private sector player. Who knows which governmental agencies are involved - Arun Kumar Rath, India's Education Secretary has been dismissive of OLPC in the past with comments like:

"Our primary school children need reading and writing habits, not expensive laptops,"

But don't think comments like that are going to dissuade OLPC India. Satish has his own comments, which denote a much greater ambition than this 250,000 XO laptop order:

"If a country can take 8 million cellular phones a month, they can take 3 million laptops in a year."

Yeah, if only we haven't heard grand XO sales plans before. So I'd like for Satish to give us more details, or at least revive the OLPC India listserv before we celebrate anything past 250,000.

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Try to be more correct in how you represent the news that you report.

"The IDG News Service reports that India has..." is the correct format for what you are saying. The article, that IDG wrote, then says that Satish has said the following things, but there don't seem to be any direct quotes in this article, that concerns me. I don't see a press release from OLPC India. Also note they use "said Friday" as-in today. That's awful fast, not a lot of time for fact checking, nor have I heard of a request from a quote from Nicholas.

I also see two authors and a contributing author... that seems strange for such a short story when Agam Shah and Dan Nystedt have written most of the OLPC articles from IDG.

So you're saying that there isn't a 250,000 order? That Satish is making things up or IDG got the story wrong?

Again, that's why I'd love more details from Satish. But your details on the lack of buzz at OLPC worries me. I too would expect some more announcements, especially something from Negroponte for finally getting an India sales. I figured it would come Monday, with this as an inadvertent early leak.

I don't, personally, know right now either. That isn't to say that Nicholas isn't composing something to this effect with Satish right now. But I am hedging my bets until I have actual confirmation from either or both.

Were I you, I would write exactly what you know; that IDG reports Satish as saying etc etc etc. It more correctly represents what you know and can verify.

Until IDG or Santish offers a retraction or clarification, I'm happy to leave this post just as it is, though I will give IDG more credit

But then it will be far from wise for Satish to comment on anything of this nature anyway.

We do not know about his conversation with the journalist.

What may be true though is that there is indeed something happening and it may have been cooking for a while. Just that the journalist, as is their wont, love to jump the gun.

To reassure those worried that Sugar is losing against Windows XP:

Nowhere in the article did I see mention of Microsoft or Windows (which I'm sure Microsoft would love to point out if they did snag some sales), but I did see mention of mesh networking, which AFAIK there is no mesh networking for Windows, only Linux.

So don't worry, it doesn't seem that Sugar is going away.

Its very surprising that such a great news has been broken without concrete back up submission and or confirmation. We did participated in DBF activities and so far I have not heard officially from DBF.

Has IDG or Mr. Satish at any point of time said that DBF is / could be one of the pvt sector player as named or its a guesswork of Reporter

Anyways such news according to me used to be made for political milage rather than to improve upon education.

Offcourse its my personal opinion.

What is DBF? Why should they be involved?

I would think that the news should not be broken until it is deployed on the ground. It looks like the journalist got the scent of something that brewed and spoke a little sooner than needed.

Sometimes large deals take significant amount of time to close, even after reaching an agreement in principle. That said, OLPC India has created tremendous momentum and the news media can be trusted only as much as they have not got repeating themselves regarding the Govt having rejected it.

This is news without any proof , can we see the purchase order ? This news is sheer propoganda..

"So I'd like for Satish to give us more details, or at least revive the OLPC India listserv before we celebrate anything past 250,000."

Though our organisation equipped our school project with 36 XO and had maybe some experience to share, I was banned from the India listserv by Satish. This is what is happening when you don't share his ideology. The man behaved like a dictator on the listserv. So I am not surprised to read that the India listserv is dead calm now.
Satish dreams about selling millions of XO in India, no other topic was allowed on the listserv. No technical topics, no implementation problems, only how to sell those millions and millions of laptops ! So sad that ideology makes people so blind. From my own experience, I expect either the XO in India not to reach the population targeted or to face many other problems like the fact that no teacher is trained enough to use the XO as a teaching medium in the rural areas.

You were not banned from the listserv.. You left the listserv on your own and blamed someone else.. in any case anyone can join with a fresh email id if they wish.. so don't dramatize the stuff..

This is seriously disturbing. An already very poor educational system will suffer a major setback. India cannot afford to waste resources that are already in short supply. Very very sad.

This is the most interesting logic I have seen anywhere. A nation will suffer because it tries to educate its children and bring them to level with the rest of the world? Mr Dey sounded like he loved OLPC. Just that he wants to keep India illiterate. The Govt of India can spend $100 billion on all the luxuries and wastes but it should not educate its children lest they begin questioning Mr Dey? As far as I can see, the Govt spends Rs 17000 per child per annum for achieving little. If they just spend Rs 3000 of that towards using OLPC approach, they will get their children to learn in months they currently do in years. They will allow children to learn knowledge for the remaining years rather than continuing to learning skills alone. Is there anything that comes anywhere close to offering all this for $1 per week?

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