MIT project to introduce student laptops in Indian languages

August 4th, 2008 - 10:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Aug 4 (IANS) The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, launched by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor Nicholas Negroponte, will now introduce laptops with various keyboards in local Indian languages. Speaking at a video conference Monday, which was held simultaneously at 14 locations across India, OLPC & Co head David Cavallo said: “We have teams researching on introducing these laptops in regional languages like Urdu, Hindi and Bengali so that we can digitalise education, using these low cost laptops for children in developing countries.”

The OLPC project aims to make available laptops at about $100 a piece, but the actual price still hovers around $188.

According to OPLC, at present a few laptops were given to students in Khairat village of Raigadh district, Maharashtra, under the project.

“The laptops have been localised and have come with Devanagari script,” said Sandeep Surve, a teacher in one of the schools in the area.

“Initially these kids felt that education was not really important but now with laptop they feel like we have moved ahead, and they want to compete and work with their urban counterparts,” he added.

Surve, who teaches children from Classes one to four, feels introducing such innovations has improved learning in school. “It’s not only in school where they use the laptop but also at home and even get their parents hooked on it,” he added.

Cavallo highlighted that in several African countries, the student attendance had increased to hundred percent after the project was launched.

The OLPC foundation in India along with other non-governmental organisation has already started talks with several state governments on starting this project.

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