29 AUGUST 2008 RAROTONGA (Pacnews) --- Cook Islands is the sixth country in the Pacific to hook into a world-wide project which aims to have each child supplied with his or her own laptop computer, reports Cook Island News.
Ian Thomson, who is the Rural Internet Connectivity (RIC) and One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) coordinator with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), is in Rarotonga to look at starting a pilot programme in one of the country’s schools.
“We’re having discussions with education to help kick start this pilot programme,” said Mr Thomson.
“The long term goal is to have 1.7 million children in the Pacific with a laptop.”
Mr Thomson said that the school chosen for the programme will have specially-made laptop computers supplied to all pupils.
The laptop, he said was not your conventional laptop. It has no disk drive, uses only five watts of power, runs for about four hours, takes one-and-a-half hours to charge off power mains or by solar, and it connects with other laptops through a wireless system which is set up in the classroom. And once a RIC satellite is installed nearby, then the laptop users can connect up to the internet.
“It can be used as a tool to improve education across the board – not just to learn about how to drive a computer,” Mr Thomson said
The SPC has given out 2000 of the 5000 laptops to be distributed in the region.
Around 500 laptops were given out on Niue before the Forum meeting at the beginning of the month. Laptops have also been given out in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Nauru.
The One Laptop Per Child Association Inc is an American non-profit organisation set up to oversee the creation of a cheap, affordable educational device for use in the third world….PNS (ENDS)