One Laptop per Child

December 19, 2006

The project to distribute one laptop per child (OLPC) in the developing world will begin next year, but there is still much debate on whether this is an effective use of poor countries’ money. The cost of the laptop is now $150. Is there a more effective way to spend $150 per student to improve education in developing countries? For example, they could spend this on health care and better nutrition. Or they could pay poor families to keep their kids, particularly girls, in school. Many desperately poor families would rather their children earn money, but this idea worked in a pilot project in Mexico some time ago. Better yet, they could increase teachers’ salaries and attract better instructors. I know in India in many poor schools the teachers are so poorly payed they don’t teach at all. Instead, they tutor after school only to those that pay a tutoring fee. It’s a scam that screws the poor again. I think there are many better ways to spend this large sum of money to improve education. Anyway, have they actually handed out laptops and measured the effect on education in a trial yet? Seems like you’d do that before blowing $1B on hardware.

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2 Responses to “One Laptop per Child”

  1. ixnacious Says:

    I too find this OLPC project very…strange at best. What exactly would this child do with the laptop? Post his latest elementary school romance on myspace? And what about all the infrastructure required, i.e. electricity, telecommunications, lights. If the child were to somehow become adept with the computer, what kind of job could s/he possibly get anyhow. White collar jobs aren’t exactly teeming in Mozambique or what not.

  2. Chris Says:

    Good points. I mean, my laptop probably hinders my learning, i just thought of a pretty inapropriate joke about minesweeper but i’ll leave it:>


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