Rwanda Begins Distributing XO Laptops

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Rwanda launched the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program on Sunday with the distribution of 5,000 laptops in a bid to transition the country's education system from blackboard and chalk to digital.

The use of computers in Rwandan schools will have a great impact on the country's education system, said Minister of Primary and Secondary School Education Theoneste Mutsindashyaka.

The laptops are currently being sold for US$188, but OLPC is working to drive down costs through a give-one, get-one-free program, said Juckie Lustig, OLPC's public relations representative.

Rwanda aims to equip children with computer skills in order to promote critical thinking and innovation, Mutsindashyaka said. The country plans to reach 2.5 million primary and secondary school pupils by 2020.

Rwanda and OLPC reached a deal last year when President Paul Kagame met OLPC founder and chairman Nicholas Negroponte.

Nearly 100 teachers have already completed training by the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology in the use of specialized OLPC XO-1 computers.

OLPC plans to deliver an additional 5,000 laptops to Rwanda, Lustig said.

The organization has also provided Ethiopia with 5,000 laptops, and South Africa and Ghana have each received at least 100 laptops.

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