UNICEF puts the school-age population (6-18) in Nigeria at 45 million. One-year age cohorts (children born in a year, less deaths before reaching school age) are currently 4 million.But then his numbers start to go awry. He uses the outdated $100 laptop cost. OLPC 2B1 Children's Machines are now $140 dollars per laptop, or $208 per laptop on the initial install. So if we correct his numbers, we find a stunning initial cost for Nigeria to equip all its students with OLPC 2B1's and buy more for each cohort:
If only Nigeria were so rich, Mr. Cherlin. According to the CIA Fact Book, Nigeria's 2005 budget had revenues of $12.86 billion and expenditures of $13.54 billion. An OLPC purchase for all its students would absorb 73% of its entire government income while supplying laptops for each cohort of students and replacing worn out computers would be 13% of the government income per year.
$100$208 laptops for all starts at $4.5 billion$9.36 billion, with annual expense of computers for first-graders at $400 million$560 million. Presumably students will get new computers at some regular intervals, say in four years, so that they have new computers again when starting fifth grade and ninth grade. So that's $1.2 billion$1.68 billion a year. This is Nigeria, so that can come out of oil income.
And that is before we add in some of Mr. Cherlin's more esoteric suggestions:
For a start, Nigeria could have its own educational satellite (something like $300 million, including launch costs, and a few million a year to run it). So even the remotest schools wouldn't have to pay fees for Internet connections, although somebody would have to pay for the satellite receivers (VSAT currently, about $900 each).Finally, there is the real and immeasurable costs of the massive amounts of corruption and mismanagement that would occur. Nigeria may have improved its Transperency International ranking but its still one of the most corrupt countries worldwide.
Overall, I would have to disagree with Edward Cherlin's very optimistic conclusion:
But I think I have made the point that Nigeria could afford to do this.No, Mr. Cherlin, Nigeria cannot afford to spend 73% of its total government income in one year on buying 4 million laptops from Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child. Like Argentina's OLPC numbers, Nigeria does not have the budget for one laptop per child. Not by a long shot.