120,000 XO Laptops Headed to OLPC Rwanda

   
   
   
   
   

Back last year, One Laptop Per Child donated 10,000 XO laptops from G1G1 to Rwanda in an attempt to kick start OLPC Rwanda. OLPC also promised to donate another 10,000 XO laptops in 2009. The plan worked! It got President Paul Kagame excited about the concept to the tune of 100,000 XO laptops.

XO in rwanda
RITA promoting OLPC Rwanda

As reported by others, Juliano Bittencourt of OLPC Rwanda says they'll supply all 120,000 laptops by the end of the year - 20,000 donated by OLPC, 100,000 bought by the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC).

Unlike the OLPC India "order", this one I've confirmed. My contacts in Rwanda say that MINEDUC has released the purchase order and 20% advance payment to get the XO shipments going.

What I still wonder about is the rest of the financials for this project. An order of 100,000 XO laptops means a minimum cost of $20,000,000, or 18% of Rwanda's $109 million education budget for 2008.

If, as OLPC News calculates, the 5 year Total Cost of Ownership for an XO laptop is $1000, then the total cost for Rwanda will be $100 million, or 25% of the total educational budget over the next 5 years. Not a small sum for a country that relies on international aid for 70% of the government's budget.

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When Juliano Bittencourt of OLPC Rwanda said the government of Rwanda was buying 100,000 XO laptops, my first question was how they were going to finance the pur... [more]

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Here's an interesting addendum to this post. It seems that Rwanda wanted to make this order happen a few months ago, but OLPC was unable or unwilling to meet the Rwandan government's standard terms and conditions for all its suppliers.

OLPC wanted Rwanda to treat it and the XO laptop purchase differently than its other vendors. Only when OLPC acquiesced, did the transaction happen.

Windows or Linux?

Not sure if its Windows or Linux, but there are good reasons why Rwanda may XP its XO's

The cost of the XO-1 laptop is $200 and not more.

Every $200 invested in OLPC project, the country gets back 10'000 fold in terms of smarter, more engaged, more meaningful, better informed citizen.

It makes no sense not to buy an XO laptop to every child in the world right now.

Once the chicken are bought, the eggs come automatically later. Such as curriculum, programs, teacher training, cheaper Internet connectivity, ebook contents, good Web 2.0 applications suited for the local needs and more.

@Charbax:It makes no sense not to buy an XO laptop to every child in the world right now.

Once the chicken are bought, the eggs come automatically later. Such as curriculum, programs, teacher training, cheaper Internet connectivity, ebook contents, good Web 2.0 applications suited for the local needs and more.

Good lord! You think just by having the computers magically internet connectivity will appear, teacher training will appear, ebook contents will appear and good Web 2.0 applications suited for the local needs and more will appear?

Seriously, I highly recommend anyone interested in this project read The Flickering Mind.

Promises like this have been spouted before with each new generation of technology, yet there's yet to be a tangible gain.

As the book points out, you need to do A LOT MORE than just dump the machines in classrooms. You have to invest at least as much as the machine costs in infrastructure, upkeep, and support or else the machines will sit unused in the corner.

Internet connectivity doesn't just automatically happen. It is a real infrastructure cost, and arguably one of the keys to success with the project (in the form of getting new content, online learning materials, sharing lessons with other schools, etc). OLPC Peru has a lot of machines deployed, but there's spotty internet access and little information about how teachers are truly using the machines:

http://www.olpcnews.com/countries/peru/olpc_peru_far_from_goals.html

Also, content doesn't just release itself. Where's all the open content for this project in the form of ebooks, which can be localized? Where's the open lesson plans to help incorporate this into classrooms? Look at the software. There's a lot of half baked programs for the XO (many of which are games). Where's all the great educational content we were promised?

For decades people have been trying to develop educational software with little success. What makes you think automatically there will be free Web 2.0 applications suddenly popping up that will be better than anything we've seen before?

There is this educational softare called the browser and all 80 billion websites with contents in the Google index. There is such technology as a fixed WiMax to WiFi router which costs less than $100 and provides thus Internet to any remote location cheaper than $0.20 per month per student.

Google has digitize millions of books already at books.google.com in many languages. Digitizing a book costs about $10 per book, then it is digitized and can be copied for free forever after that.

The benefits of computers and the Internet are everywhere. Look for example in the mirror, you wouldn't be writing on this forum with other people all over the world if it wasn't for that technology.

But what's the actual educational quality of the 80 billion sites compared to actual textbooks? The flickering mind mentions how information from internet research is very shallow compared to actual books.

Technology like "fixed WiMax to WiFi router" still requires having a WiMax signal that might not be existent right now. This takes cost to set up. How do you run this router if there's no reliable electrical source to power it?

Digitized ebooks also have licensing concerns as a lot of the books on their site aren't "open content"

Can you also give me a list of free books from google suitable for elementary students?

E-books in Peru are all free and legal for education, just as with basically all other countries in the world. Education gets free unlimited and legal access to all books ever written if not in libraries then online.

The OLPC will encourage better electricity which is one of the reasons OLPC is great, it pushes the rest of the village up. You can't have better living conditions in remote areas if they don't have electricity.

The Wimax to WiFi router can also be solar powered. Installing a solar panel with a battery to it can be done for less than another $50. In Peru and most other such places, the sun shines enough each day to power the Wimax to Wifi or fixed WiMax to fixed Wimax repeater router 24 hours a day.

Your flickering mind thing is also wrong cause all books are available online as ebooks, so if your mind doesn't flickr on reading normal books, it won't flicker by reading the ebook versions either.

Again, any book can be digitized for less that $10. Again, this is $10 to digitize, and every digital copy is free.

Even without Internet to each laptops, one 4GB USB stick can be sent to the village by mail once a month or so, and it can contain thus about 1 million web pages, or tens of thousands of ebooks. Plenty enough for the children to have plenty of things to click on and learn from. That is the meaning of the WiFi mesh networking.

E-books in Peru are all free and legal for education, just as with basically all other countries in the world. Education gets free unlimited and legal access to all books ever written if not in libraries then online.

Where are these free Peru eBooks?

Also, no, books aren’t free for education all over the world. Libraries pay a tremendous amount to obtain books for their collections. “Free” Online access to Journals? Yeah, they’re paying subscription fees for those. Far from free and unlimited.

Your flickering mind thing is also wrong cause all books are available online as ebooks, so if your mind doesn't flickr on reading normal books, it won't flicker by reading the ebook versions either.

That didn’t even make sense. “The Flickering Mind” is a book title:
http://www.amazon.com/Flickering-Mind-Education-Promise-Technology/dp/0812968433/

Yes it is available as an ebook, for the purchase / license cost of $10 to deliver a locked copy to your Kindle.

Again, any book can be digitized for less that $10. Again, this is $10 to digitize, and every digital copy is free.

Most books are protected by copyright. Most authors do this so they can charge money for the book to compensate the time and effort they put into writing it. That means that “every digital copy is free” is true, if you wish to break copyright law. The cost of a book is not just the mechanical costs of reproducing and distributing the book, but also the cost of compensating the author for their work.

Thus why this project was supposed to make available all sorts of free (libre) open educational content. Content that can be distributed and modified without breaking the law. Where’s that content?

The OLPC will encourage better electricity which is one of the reasons OLPC is great, it pushes the rest of the village up. You can't have better living conditions in remote areas if they don't have electricity.

Both electricity and internet access yes can open up opportunities for all sorts of things, but aren’t “free” to setup. Infrastructure costs money. Look up “Rural Electrification”. Even in a country like the United States where many rural customers can afford utility bills, it still took a substantial amount of government subsidies to bring electricity to rural areas. As it is now, urban rate payers still subsidize the higher cost to deliver power in rural areas. Plus many developing countries face unique problems in electrification.


Ebooks are free and unlimited for education. Quite simple. Government legalizes unlimited use for education. Government helped by Google and others gets their national libraries completely 100% digitized and 100% available for education country-wide.

These things are simple to understand.

Access to books, newspapers even in US schools is free for students and made available for cheaper to the schools BY LAW. In Peru they can even jump further and remove any cost to the schools to get full unrestricted access to all the books in Peru and all the books worldwide as ebooks.

Authors will be paid and compensated through Governments. But you aren't going to demand that Peru pay more than the US and EU for authors unless you are completely insane. Peru will pay authors according to living standards in Peru. Point final.

As for electrification of rural areas in Peru, that is a totally indisputable requirement to bring rural areas up to better living standards. OLPC DOES help to reach electrification MUCH faster.

Quite basically again. OLPC XO laptops can be solar powered. XO laptops have batteries. XO laptops can power other USB utilities including sensors and basic healthcare utilities. The small and cheap solar panels installed for CHEAP on the school roof can also power a fridge for medicine, water filtration and other such things.

$200 invested in a laptop is 100x more efficient towards highering the life standards in remote areas than $200 invested in anything else. In fact, laptops are much more worthwhile to a family that lives on $2 a day than anything else. Cause with direct and indirect uses with the laptop, the family is likely to earn double or tripple their previous income levels in the short term, and 100x higher levels for when the child has grown to be an adult.

Absolute, unabated delusion by a techno-fool.

Authors will be paid and compensated through Governments.

AH HA! So it isn’t free. SOMEONE is going to have to bare the cost. Given the government can’t even afford basic stuff in these schools, suddenly they will be able to afford licensing on ebooks? I mean as it is now students in north American schools don’t pay for textbooks (aside from loss or damage) but that doesn’t mean they’re free, someone bares the cost.

Go into a library and ask how “free” their collection is.

OLPC DOES help to reach electrification MUCH faster.

But SOMEONE is going to have to pay for the capital costs of grid expansion. If you even think of saying government… FAIL, they’ve already let everyone down as it is for basic education or infrastructure, they aren’t going to magically get money.

$200 invested in a laptop is 100x more efficient towards highering the life standards in remote areas than $200 invested in anything else. In fact, laptops are much more worthwhile to a family that lives on $2 a day than anything else. Cause with direct and indirect uses with the laptop, the family is likely to earn double or tripple their previous income levels in the short term, and 100x higher levels for when the child has grown to be an adult.

Do you have a source to back up these lofty claims?

Developing countries are the last ones who would have to pay compensation for the authors, especially since their libraries would be digital in the form of the distribution of ebooks. The cost of a library, even in the US, is mainly getting in and organizing all the paper books. But when the library is 100% digitall, scanned by Google and a task force at the national library, then the library is basically free and authors are only compensated according to hat the country can actually afford.

Your ignorance of copyright law is astonishing.

85% of the world, including China and India don't even have such a thing as copyright. Especially not for paying US and EU based artists and authors. Perhaps you need to get out of your country and see conditions in the rest of the world.

And we should be encouraging such violations?

You perhaps would rather let big corporations, movie studios, music majors and giant publishing houses violate people's freedom to access to information, data, knowledge, inspiration and works of all kinds of arts?

The worlds cultural heritage should be accessible to everyone worldwide.

You perhaps would rather let big corporations, movie studios, music majors and giant publishing houses violate people's freedom to access to information, data, knowledge, inspiration and works of all kinds of arts?

No.

The worlds cultural heritage should be accessible to everyone worldwide.

Yes it should.

If you paid attention to what I was saying, I don't believe we should be allowing developing nations to steal content. Nor do I believe we should force them to pay for it.

What I believe is that as a basic tenant of this program, we should be providing and encouraging them to use free (libre, not beer) content. Content they are legally allowed to distribute and modify for free.

Hence my initial post:

Where's all the open content for this project in the form of ebooks, which can be localized? Where's the open lesson plans to help incorporate this into classrooms?

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