Saturday, November 19, 2005

Laptop For Every Nigerian Child

THE UTOPIAN $100 MIT LAPTOP

The good news is music to my ears as you can see in the current news column on the sidebar. And it has been reported since yesterday.That every Nigerian child will benefit from the "One Laptop-One Child Initiative" for only $100 per laptop.

These are the notes from the news report.
The President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is very excited and thrilled by the break-through of Professor Nicholas Negroponte and his team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States for the initiative.

President Olusegun Obasanjo met the brains behind the laudable and remarkable achievement in Tunisia, at the second phase of World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS-05. And a meeting has been scheduled between them and the Nigerian top government officials.

NIGERIA and five other countries have been named the first beneficiaries of the One-Laptop-One-Child Initiative. Others are Egypt, India, Brazil, China and Thailand.

Chairman of the initiative, Professor Nicholas Negroponte who disclosed this in Tunis Wednesday, said the laptops would be distributed through various governments of benefitting nations.

Also, Nigeria has redeemed its 0.5 million Euros (aboout N87.5 million) to the Digital Solidarity Fund, President Olusegun Obasanjo has said. He spoke in Tunis.

Initial distribution of the laptops is expected by first quarter of next year.

But there are skeptics and cynics.
Negroponte's dream may not match reality, for all its Utopian promise

It's one of the great Utopian visions — universal access to the world's knowledge without limitation of wealth, location or social position. The logical conclusion to universal literacy and universal suffrage: nobody can argue against it as a force for good.

Negroponte has an attractive vision. Then again, MIT's Media Lab has never lacked vision. It should shame nobody to ask about delivery, appropriateness and long-term strategy. Utopias are never cheap.
http://comment.zdnet.co.uk/0,39020505,39237331,00.htm

But, I sincerely hope that millions of Children in Nigeria will benefit from this initiative. Because, my suspicion is that as usual, the very greedy and selfish Nigerian Middle Class and Upper Class will hijack these subsidized laptops and divert them to their own kids in their Ivy League private schools and High Schools and the millions of the less privileged kids of the poor majority will never receive any of the laptops.

I can bet with President Olusegun Obasanjo that the rich and more privileged Nigerians in private and public offices will hijack these laptops meant for the children of the poor who have been suffering great deprivations all these years.

I want proven Nigerians of integrity and probity like Rev. Gamaliel Onosode, Dr. Dora Nkem Akunyili and Dr. Pat Utomi to be given the responsibility for the distribution of the laptops before they are hijacked or stolen midway by the Nigerian kleptomaniacs in the corridors of power from Lagos to Abuja.


I am overwhelmed by this break through that will propel an Internet revolution in Nigeria as every family in Nigeria should be able to connect their computers to the Internet. And the intellectual enlightenment and empowerment of the new generation of Nigerians will accelerate the advancement of Information Technology for sustainable human capital development in Nigeria.

8 comments:

Bug said...

I read about this in PC Mag and I'm just thrilled! I hope this really works out for the kids :)

Imnakoya said...

I stand being labelled an ingrate or a sore thumb, so well be it!

I totally have a different view regarding this $100-a-piece machine. Nigeria is not really ready for it.

Internet penetration Nigeria is still low. Without the internet, the benefits of these computers will be greatly reduced.

Secondly, computer literacy is not the real problem facing our school systems, especially at the lower levels. There are more pressing problems that demand urgent attention.

The truth is that there are just little infrastructure in place to sustain an intelligent use of these computers.

Fix the infrastructure first, then get the commuters!

An ICT-oriented campaign is at final stages of implementation in Nigeria, it is tagged "Computer For All Nigerian Initiative" (CANI). The free wireless internet service offered around Millenium park in Abuja may not be unrelated to CANI according to my sources.

So it is not surprising that OBJ wants this computers, but he should work more on the "nuts and bolts" that will ensure the success of his interventions.

Kayode Muyibi said...

Honestly this does not excite me either. Nigeria in particular, is well known for its huge allocations to projects like this.

I think an Imnakoya pointed out, we still do have a long way to go. Nigeria is not ready for this. Not now for goodness sake. Dont make those guys richer again.

Anthony Arojojoye said...

There has to be serious preparations for this to work for Nigeria (more preparations than that for the PDP rally).

1. The lappy's are to be wi-fi connected. Which company or government parastatal will provide dis one before they arrive, and at an affordable or no cost at all? Have in mind that the laptops weren't really meant for children in urban areas. Which company is ready to go to Kontangora to maintain a wi-fi link?

2. How many people know how to use linux in Nigeria (even amidst the IT gurus,we have like 20 - Linus Tarvaldo's cousins and their friends)?

Make d laptops come first sha, we have the fire-brigade approach that helps us atimes.
But I seriously pray that these laptops don't end up as one of the toys of the kids of Senators, governors and their relatives.

max said...

i think it's too early to say for sure what exactly the utopia will do for nigeria, africa and the developing world. it seems clear, though, that a computer that costs $100 will enable a greater population to gain access to something they could never afford before. the upper classes will not hijack this; they will continue to supply their kids with $2000 laptops. just my 2c...

Shola said...

Personnaly I think that most of the laptops will not get to where they are supposed to go!

In anycase will the provision of laptops solve any particular problem? There are probably more basic things need in schools than laptops.

Orikinla Osinachi. said...

I agree with with the opinions you have expressed, because they are objective and logical.

Let the $100 laptops come first. Like the international prize winning Nigerian novelist Sefi Atta wrote, "All things good will come." One fine day.

Blue Turtle said...

There is not a shred of evidence that indicates that children learn better with this type of technology - in fact, there may be even evidence to the opposite. Giving laptops is to create a dependency where that product has the foot in the door for future markets. It is good business, but not necessarily good education