Every elementary student in Uruguay now has an XO laptop

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative has now distributed XO-1 laptops to every elementary-school student in Uruguay, Daily Tech reports. Uruguay was the first country to place a full order for XO-1 laptops, with an initial 100,000 order in October 2007. Over the last two years, 18,000 teachers have distributed 380,000 laptops to every student between the ages of six and 12. OLPC’s original goal was to develop a $100 laptop, but that proved out of reach. The government of Uruguay says it has spent $260 per child, which includes the costs of maintenance, equipment repairs, training for the teachers, and internet connections. Annual maintenance costs are around $21 per child. Uruguay was the first country in Latin America to provide free compulsory schooling for its population, and it believes participation in the OLPC project will help to raise standards of living even more quickly. "This is not simply the handing out of laptops or an education program. It is a program which seeks to reduce the gap between the digital world and the world of knowledge," said project director Miguel Brechner. Insufficient electrical and internet infrastructure are just some of the challenges the project has faced. Some rural areas have required the deployment of solar power generators, while other areas still lack internet connections. That might explain why other countries have been hesitant to adopt OLPC laptops in large-scale national programs; only Uruguay, Peru, Columbia, India, and Rwanda have or are planning OLPC adoption programs to more than 100,000 students. "It’s a culture shock scenario; many countries are simply too scared to put it into practice," Brechner said…

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