India snubs $100 laptop, Nigeria orders a million

The government of Nigeria has placed
an order
for one million “$100 laptops” from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative.
The laptops will likely cost around $140, according to VNUnet, as unit prices aren’t expected to sink to $100
until 2008. Furthermore, the OLPC project won’t kick off production
until orders for 5-10 million laptops have been secured. Thus far, the
OLPC association is in talks with countries like Brazil, China, Egypt,
and Thailand, and VNUnet says other nations are close to placing
orders.

While many countries are interested in the OLPC project, India is currently
snubbing it
. India’s Ministry of Education believes the
OLPC laptop is “paedagogically suspect,” and Indian Education Secretary
Sudeep Banerjee says, “We cannot visualise a situation for decades when
we can go beyond the pilot stage. We need classrooms and teachers more
urgently than fancy tools.” According to Banerjee, money for the laptops
would be “better spent on existing education plans.”

Comments closed
    • Forge
    • 13 years ago

    A joke comes to mind about one million more Nigerian scammers getting equipped…

    • wierdo
    • 13 years ago

    India has allot of people – population of almost a billion (~15% of the planet) – and thus limited resources per person, it makes sense for them to be more careful and do proper planning before jumping into what could possibly be as much a fad as it would be a great educational instrument. Perhaps they’d be wise to let someone else experiment with the concept a bit before they jump in as well.

    • Hattig
    • 13 years ago

    So I see that the anti-$100-laptop crowd have jumped on India’s decision to not use it as justification for their beliefs.

    Let’s take a look at Nigeria’s decision to get a million of these laptops. Clearly something about the laptops appealed to them, and they were a suitable solution to their educational IT needs.

    Far more sensible to buy $140 rugged educational laptops than more expensive standard PCs with Microsoft licenses and all that. Given that Nigeria has paid off all its debts (due to oil income), I think the country is actually wary of paying over the top, yet is aware of a need for equipment to aid its education system.

    So, shock horror, a product is suitable for one place, and unsuitable for another. Stop the presses!

    What’s more pressing is the actual software on those laptops. It’s not just about the laptop hardware or the operating system. The actual software has to be available, it has to be good, and somehow they’ve got to fit a wide range of this educational material into the limited flash memory on the device.

    • Jigar
    • 13 years ago

    I am an Indian but i feel Indian Education Secretary Sudeep Banerjee doesnt see a way to earn money for himself in this scheme.

    • ludi
    • 13 years ago

    No doubt the Nigerian $100m will be deposited in a ‘PayPal escrow’ and the mailing code will be…what, 23401? 23402?

    • PerfectCr
    • 13 years ago

    Dear Sir: I am have an excellent business proposition for you…..

    • droopy1592
    • 13 years ago

    There’s money to be made everywhere.

      • Anonymous Gerbll
      • 13 years ago

      Watching the news recently i learned of a new buisness catering to people who don’t get enough sleep. Sleeping boutiques! $14.00 for every 20 minutes you would like to nap on company time. I thought people already did this today for free. Whats next?

        • indeego
        • 13 years ago

        I would easily pay that amount daily. All I need is 6 hours a night, then another 20-30 minute nap in the afternoon, and I’m setg{<.<}g

    • Vrock
    • 13 years ago

    Thank you India, for reiterating what I’ve been saying all along.

      • Perezoso
      • 13 years ago

      India’s Ministry of Education cashes big paychecks from Intel and Microsoft. More news at eleven.

      BTW: §[<http://www.intel.com/pressroom/archive/releases/20060329corp.htm<]§

      • Sargent Duck
      • 13 years ago

      I’ve been sharing much the same thoughts. What’s the point of a computer if a child can’t do the basic three “r’s”

      • blastdoor
      • 13 years ago

      I agree.

      I mean, seriously folks, what did we have when we were kids? I had a lowly Apple IIe from the age of 10 to the age of 18, and I now make six figures. The idea that you need a fancy shmancy laptop as a kid to succeed in life is highly suspect. If nothing else, ship them all of our used Apple IIs!

        • Sargent Duck
        • 13 years ago

        I had a Mac back in the days when the 486 was around. Becuase it didn’t have any cool PC games like my friends had, it suffered neglect. I just spent most of my time reading. Right up until Grade 12 (2001), I was still doing all my reports/homework/assignments with pen & paper, and researched using this strange thing called encyclopedia’s. And if I had to do it all over again, I’d do it the same way. Their are a lot of important skills that just can’t be learned on a computer (like spelling).

          • Vrock
          • 13 years ago

          Yeah, I didn’t start using a computer for school work until my soph year of college. During my frosh year I had an old electric typewriter, and then a Canon Starwriter word processor I’d borrow from my girfriend when I’d need to type a paper…which was frequently.

            • Anomymous Gerbil
            • 13 years ago

            I think you’re all missing the point, the same way everyone missed the point when this was discussed a while ago. Frickin’ hell, this device obviously isn’t meant for the ultra-poor, and if India thinks that it’s better to spend their money on classrooms and teachers, that probably makes sense. But to deride the whole concept simply because it doesn’t fit *[

            • Vrock
            • 13 years ago

            No, I understand the “point”, I just don’t think it’s valid. India’s hardly ultra-poor, and they don’t want it. The supporters of this device have screamed that it’s not for the ultra poor. Well, if it isn’t for the ultra poor, and the not-so-ultra-poor don’t want it either, then who is it for? The sort-of-poor-who-aren’t-ultra-poor-but-have-enough-of-everything-else-to-make-this-a-practical-expenditure type of poor?

            Basics first. Then the toys.

            • Anomymous Gerbil
            • 13 years ago

            Interesting – you still miss the point, and at the same time manage to show that you’re not much of a comedian.

            Your argument only makes any sense if you assume that PCs are never useful in any educational setting. But for the purposes of this debate, we’re making the assumption that PCs are a useful educational tool for kids growing up in a technology-rich world.

            I’ll correct you by observing that vast swathes of India *[

            • Vrock
            • 13 years ago

            I’m not going to debate with a smart aleck who talks down to people because they disagree with him. I’ll just say I think you overemphasize the importance and breadth of the so-called “market” for this device and be on my way before you accuse me of missing the point again, because I’m an unfunny simpleton or something.

            • ludi
            • 13 years ago

            Garbage. You’ve used one of these two lines of argument every time this has been discussed here:

            1. I don’t think it’s a good idea.

            2. I didn’t use computers very much back in the day.

            Case (1) is an opinion you’re entitled to, but if someone else decides it’s simplistic and banal, you don’t have much grounds for responding to that. As proven by your responses to Anomynous Gerbil, thus far. Case (2) is no doubt true, and it was mostly true for me also, but the relevant context is, /[

            • Vrock
            • 13 years ago

            What’s up with the garbage comment? Uncalled for. If you can’t argue a point without calling someone’s views garbage then post somewhere else.

            I don’t mean to infer that computers aren’t helpful tools and shouldn’t be part of education. I just don’t think these computers make much sense here. To me this is a case of cart before horse at best for the majority of its “market”. I get tired of seeing people pimp this gadget like it’s so desperately needed in the developing world and is gonna make this huge difference. It’s geek hubris, nothing more. Yes, there’s a niche out there that this can fill. But again, for most of the world a $140 “laptop” is like putting chrome valve stem caps on a rusted out car. It’s new and shiny and cool but in the end you’ve still got a rusted out car. Start with the foundation and work outward, not vice versa.

            • blastdoor
            • 13 years ago

            I agree with you.

            I would also add that, so far as I know, there are no rigorous (meaning not some mamby-pamby correlational study, but manly hard core random assignment based study) showing that technology in education has any value at all. But if somebody is aware of such a study, then post it, and I might change my mind (but it has to be a real random-assignment based study with decent sample size, not some BS marketing cr@p).

            The only context in which I might believe technology has value in education is in learning how to use technology that is directly applicable to a particular job. For example, if you want a job as a welder, then you better know how to use a blow torch. But I don’t see this $140 laptop being used in any jobs.

            • Anomymous Gerbil
            • 13 years ago

            Fair enough, please ignore my comments on your abilities as a comedian etc.

            I am just saying that I believe that PCs are one part of a useful education these days, which I guess you disagree with to some extent. On the other hand, I completely agree with you that the basics come before tools such as PCs, that’s just common sense and I think everyone would agree with that.

            But if you agree that PCs are a useful educational tool, then it clearly follows that a cheaper PC is A Good Thing, since more schools will be able to afford them. Yes? We are basically wasting our time debating about exactly which countries and schools can or will buy them; they can figure that out for themselves.

            What I truly don’t understand is why you’d go to the trouble of actually knocking the concept of a cheap PC for schools that couldn’t quite afford more expensive PCs – where is the harm? Unless you think that some schools might neglect the basics if they spend money on PCs?

            • Jigar
            • 13 years ago

            Well i understand ur point Vrock, but there is no one here as *[

            • Vrock
            • 13 years ago

            Oh, I know India isn’t ultra poor. That was another poster who said that.

            • Anomymous Gerbil
            • 13 years ago

            That’s just so wrong that it defies belief. Vast swathes of India *[

            • Vrock
            • 13 years ago

            Yes, I live in a cave and shun news of the outside world. How perceptive of you.

            I do however, have internet access, and I can use that to see that India was ranked 160 out of 233 for GDP per capita for 2004. That’s but one of many economic indicators that would point to “not ultra poor” for the country as a whole….which is what we’re talking about.

            §[<https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/docs/rankorderguide.html<]§ We now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion: does the $100 laptop matter, and if so, to whom?

            • Anomymous Gerbil
            • 13 years ago

            I think it helps to have travelled around the real world to see some things for yourself. Averages like that paint a very misleading picture, and that’s putting it gently. A GDP per capita of around USD3,300 is not too shabby really, but it hides massive variations affecting tens or hundreds of millions of people. Maybe one day you will venture past the shores of your country and see what some of the rest of the world is like in i[

            • Vrock
            • 13 years ago

            r[

            • Anomymous Gerbil
            • 13 years ago

            Anyway, I think this boils down to saying that *[

            • PerfectCr
            • 13 years ago

            H doesn’t know you does he? lol

    • Logan[TeamX]
    • 13 years ago

    Great, now the kids can make money offering me cash from their late father the General’s estate, and for the small sum of $5000 I can be a meeeeeelionaire!

    Next thing you know it’ll be cool to be a 419er and 2 years after that they’ll offer it at the X Games.

    • jehurey
    • 13 years ago

    Maybe we can finally make a segway to selling 100 tacos for 100 dollars.

      • Capsaicin
      • 13 years ago

      Sell 100 tacos for $100 while riding a Segway™? Next thing you know, they’ll start working on a $100 version of the Segway. :rolls:

      • Convert
      • 13 years ago

      Jack in the box has gone beyond the call, 200 tacos for $100.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 13 years ago

    I love the title. Keep up the humour 8)

    • UberGerbil
    • 13 years ago

    Well, if 40% of India’s 1B people are under 15, and therefore candiates for this, that’s $40B for laptops (at $100 each) — assuming somebody could build 400M of them. Which a rich country could blow on, say a war in Iraq, but isn’t the kind of money the Indian government has or could spend in this way (I suppose if they were building them locally it might be a little more tenable). And while I think laptops in the bush isn’t as silly as some people believe, you do need some basic infrastructure (both physical and people) to get any benefit out of them. Illiterate people can’t use them, for instance, and clean water is always a higher priority. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the wealthier states within India consider purchasing them on their own.

    • muyuubyou
    • 13 years ago

    1 million orders and won’t enter production without 5+ million??

    Nigeria has a decent electric network infrastructure. I think they could have got a lot better for the money, considering the massive volume!

    Wouldn’t they get Athlon XP-Ms coupled with 20GB+ HDs for 140$ these days? 1 million units! this may be a cool geek, but I doubt it beats a full fledged laptop for most real life uses.

    I’m not against this thing, but the deal looks bad to me, especially for a country that has a decen electric infrastructure for the most part.

    • indeego
    • 13 years ago

    I wonder if the nigerian spammers said “100 million dollars!” with a pinky in their mouthg{

      • Capsaicin
      • 13 years ago

      It’s a 419, of course. 😉

    • Stranger
    • 13 years ago

    google define: paedagogically….. ahh. well in many ways the olpc project isn’t going to help the extreme poor of the world as much as those who the ability to use the knowledge gained from the laptop.

      • titan
      • 13 years ago

      [QUOTE FROM DICTIONARY.COM]
      ped·a·gog·ic Audio pronunciation of “pedagogically” ( P ) Pronunciation Key (pd-gjk, -gjk) also ped·a·gog·i·cal (-gj-kl, -gj-)
      adj.

      1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of pedagogy.
      2. Characterized by pedantic formality: a haughty, pedagogic manner.
      [/QUOTE]

      Then, because of this cryptic definition, I had to look up pedagogy.

      [QUOTE FROM DICTIONARY.COM]
      ped·a·go·gy Audio pronunciation of “pedagogy” ( P ) Pronunciation Key (pd-gj, -gj)
      n.

      1. The art or profession of teaching.
      2. Preparatory training or instruction.
      [/QUOTE]

        • Stranger
        • 13 years ago

        I figured that out already…..

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