You know how OLPC likes to say that Rwanda ordered 100,000 XO laptops? And how Nicholas Negroponte likes to include that 100,000 number in his 1 million+ total of XO laptops in the wild? Well, I'd like to take a moment and look a bit closer at how many XO laptops are really in the hands of OLPC Rwanda.
First in January 2009, Charles Kwizera reported in the New Times that Richard Niyonkuru, the OLPC Coordinator at the Ministry of Education said:
"The ministry had planned to import only 10,000 laptops but the President, through the ministry for ICT, told us to order for 100,000," According to Niyonkuru, the first consignment which is expected between April and May will be of 40,000 laptops while others which will come in two consignments of 30,000 will come in the subsequent months.
Then, in May 2009, Edmund Kagire reported in the New Times that according to Richard Niyonkuru:
OLPC Association has also donated 10,000 more laptops to add to the already 10,000 laptops that have been distributed across the country. "Our target is to have 70,000 laptops in circulation by 2012. Government has already paid 20 percent on the 100,000 units and a cabinet meeting has signed a letter of credit to secure the rest of the laptops,"
Next, in March 2010, Charles Kwizera reported in the New Times that the Coordinator of OLPC in MINEDUC, Nkubito Bakuramutsa said:
A total of 10,000 laptops were distributed in public pilot schools in the past. He further revealed that government was planning to distribute over 24,000 laptops by July this year. "In July, we are planning to distribute over 24,000 laptops whereby we will give laptops to four schools in every district while we project to have distributed over 50,000 others before the end of the year,"
Now, in September 2010, Jean Claude Gakwaya reports in the New Times that Nkubito Bakuramutsa, Executive Director, Rwanda Information Technology Authority (RITA) says:
The One Laptop per Child (OLPC) programme, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, has set December as the deadline to have distributed 65,000 laptops to 150 primary schools across the country. He added that the OLPC centre is in the process of testing and updating the operating system on all 65,000 machines. He pointed out that the 10,000 laptops given to pupils in a pilot project have already made a positive impact.
So if the Rwanda Ministry of Education and the Rwanda Information Technology Authority are to be believed, OLPC Rwanda may want to have 100,000 laptops, but there are only 75,000 laptops at most in Rwanda, and of that, only 10,000 or so that are in the hands of Rwanda children.