OLPC India Success: 75,000 XO Laptops for Manipur State

   
   
   
   
   

The Hueiyen News Service reports that the Manipur state government of India has ordered 75,000 XO laptops to implement a wider One Laptop Per Child deployment in state schools. This is in addition to the 1,000 laptops already bought and distributed to four schools - two each from Imphal East and West districts recently.

olpc cdma india
Soon: Manipur state children

So congrats to OLPC India to finally making this order happen even with this history of this order from the OLPC India Wiki:

"The Government of Manipur has been a long standing champion of OLPC. They ere quick to realize its potential at a presentation in March 2009 and approved the procurement within a week. That was a record speed for a Government to order 75000 OLPCs. However, they ordered that the first pilot of 1000 OLPC XOs must start ASAP. As OLPC India Foundation is a not for profit Trust in India, it did not have all the business resources and employees who understood the procurement process like a corporation and it took several months to conclude the order. The Chief Minister Ibobi Singh, Union Minister Agatha Sangma, the Education Minister Jayantha have made public commitments to run with OLPC as the State's Education Strategy.

But before you break out the Champagne, read Atanu Dey's realistic analysis of what XO laptop costs mean to the government of Manipur, when he asks, At $12 Per Student, How Can ICT4E in India Be Sustainable?:

The total budget for the Manipur state school education is Rs 6,000 lakhs (around $12 million). That is, state expenditure on school education is $5 per capita for the budget year 2009-10. These numbers are fairly representative for the various Indian states. Compare that to what the state is paying for each XO laptop: $300.

Using laptops - even the low-priced $300 XO laptop - is clearly a non-starter for the Manipal state education system. The money for actually implementing the program on any appreciable scale simply does not exist. At best this initiative is an experiment which could indicate that it is possible for increased funding to improve educational outcomes - but that has never really been in doubt.
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