One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)

Introduction

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is a non-profit organization with the objective to bring education to all over the world by providing each underprivileged child an inexpensive laptop. The mission statement of OLPC is “To create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each and everyone with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop”. The laptop is designed to help children study, discover and share. The organization is based in US and found by Nicholas Negroponte. OLPC is aspired to educate, connect and empower the children of developing countries.

Advantages of OLPC

Its main propose is to give the poor child the same opportunities for learning by providing laptops to every child that enable students to experiment, express, and explore themselves through the use of technology. The assumption of Nicholas Negroponte is that “giving children good things to do so that they can learn by doing much better than they could before.” Without questions, access to the computers will empower children to enhance the learning capacities and better efficiency in performing tasks. If children have more capacities for learning, they will be more competitive on a global scale.

Moreover, children not only own the laptop, but also take it home. In doing so the child is more confident and greater self-esteem because they have the same opportunities as other rich children who own the computer at home. With sufficient self-confidence, the teacher-child relationship therefore can benefit due to high quality of education and children’s willingness of learning.

Difficulties and Challenges of OLPC

The OLPC program is definitely a potential for developing technology access to developing and undeveloped countries. For the same reason, however, certain challenges have to be overcome before the success of the OLPC.

Illiteracy is one of the biggest problems to undeveloped and many of the developing countries. This is also a problem to the OLPC. Even though we can provide each child in those countries a laptop for accessing to the Internet, not many of them knows how to read and write. Thus, it remains pointless when they do not know how to obtain information. To improve this, education would be one of the main priorities for the governments to focus on.

Initiative is also one of the barriers for the development of the OLPC. To people in developing or undeveloped countries, they are not eager to spare time on learning technologies. As many of them live in poverty, more realistic problems would be their first concerns (i.e. hunger, health, shelter etc.). Hence, even if we are able to provide them the resources, they might not have the initiative to adopt the plan.

Time and capital would probably be the major factors that challenge the program. Aiming to provide laptops for all children in non-developed countries requires a huge amount of capital, as the progress of inventing special laptops for those children needs a lot of labours and technological programs etc. Not to mention that time is also a big player in making the plan complicated. Time is essential for people in those countries to adopt the program both knowledge and initiative wise as mentioned above. Therefore, the OLPC would fail without time and resources. However, who would take the responsibility for that?

Conclusion

There are positive impacts giving children access to laptops. However, children in developing countries may not entirely benefit from this technology due to several problems and challenges. Although the concept of OLPC is to help children to learn and have access to more information as well as to increase their knowledge, technology itself cannot be the main solution to educational problem. The main solution is depended on how their governments improve the education, such as building more schools, providing training to teachers, and providing free education up to certain level. Therefore, OLPC can slightly help to resolve the issues, but not in the most cases.

Reference

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Laptop_Per_Child
- http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Talk:One_Laptop_per_Child

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