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09 May 2012, 11:54

OLPC Australia to provide 50,000 laptops to remote students

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OLPC Australia logo The Australian government has announced it will be providing funding to allow OLPC Australia to supply 50,000 OLPC XO laptops to indigenous primary students in regional and remote areas of the country. The pilot program will receive 11 million Australian dollars (around 11 million US dollars or £6.8 million) which will go to fund OLPC Australia's plans to provide the Linux-powered, connected XO laptops within a framework of sustainable training and support.

Schools that are involved will also receive training for ICT coordination, repair kits, and access to helpdesk and online support. The details of the funding were given by Jenny Macklin MP, Australian Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs as part of a Ministerial budget statement on 8 May entitled "Continuing our efforts to close the gap".

Part of the OLPC programme is to encourage an ecosystem around the laptops and their child-friendly interface and educational software. For example, it has created XO-champion and XO-mechanic programs which formally recognise students who qualify to use and advocate, or repair, XO laptops. OLPC Australia's mission is to equip all 300,000 children of primary school age in remote Australia with an XO laptop by 2014.

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