Thursday, 01 April 2010 08:44

OLPC Australia kicks on


The Australian arm of the One Laptop Per Child project has announced an acceleration of its rollout plans for remote areas.

One Laptop Per Child Australia today has expanded its deployment plans and now intends to roll out 15,000 XO educational laptops to remote schools across Australia over the next 12 months.

The move follows increased support from the corporate sector — specifically Commonwealth Bank, Telstra and News Limited — and was announced at Yirrkala School in the Northern Territory, the most recent school to receive XO laptops for all of its 200 students.

"The recent support from corporate Australia has bolstered our ability to deliver on our promise of providing one laptop for each child in remote Australia," said OLPC Australia Executive Director, Rangan Srikhanta.

"By providing children with this educational opportunity we will play a crucial role in closing the gap," added Srikhanta.

"Since becoming the founding partner of OLPC Australia, Commonwealth Bank's involvement has been vast and varied from fundraising, assistance with 'on-the-ground' deployments as well as business advice, office space, technical expertise and project management support to guide OLPC Australia," said Michael Harte, the Commonwealth Bank's CIO.

So how is the project going? See page 2.

"Telstra is proud of its partnership with OLPC Australia, which will enable remote communities to use information and communications technology to overcome the barrier of distance," said Telstra CEO David Thodey.

And News Limited CEO John Hartigan said "There is an important role for corporate Australia in helping overcome Indigenous disadvantage and this venture to provide purpose-built laptops to children living in remote areas, with the support of Telstra and Commonwealth Bank, is a terrific example of what can be accomplished."

In addition to the three large partners, OLPC Australia is also supported by the SBS Foundation (which donates advertising time on the SBS network to charities and community organisations), professional services giant PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and PR firm Hill and Knowlton.

The target of 15,000 laptops in the next 12 months is a stepping stone towards OLPC Australia's goal of providing each of the 400,000 children living in remote communities with an XO laptop in the next 5 years.

So far, 1200 XOs have been deployed in 16 isolated communities, with 2500 to be deployed to Northern Territory schools in the next six months.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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