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Thursday, 23 February 2012

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One laptop per child well on course

In line with the national drive to arm the younger generation with the knowledge of English and Information Technology, the Education Ministry will issue laptops to every student in 13 primary schools representing the whole country.

The programme is carried out under the One Laptop Per Child programme (OLPC) conducted by the Education Ministry in collaboration with the University of Colombo.

The programme is funded by the World Bank and World Vision Organisation. Under the OLPC programme, it had been scheduled at the initial stage to issue 1,273 laptops to students in 13 primary schools.

More schools will be entitled to the OLPC programme in future, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said.

Under the OLPC programme, 1,273 laptops are being distributed among students, teachers and Principals in these schools. Education Ministry sources said a laptop is worth around Rs 25,000.

A team consisting of 12 educationalists has prepared a study material which has been entered into the computers. Context of text books from Grade one to five and the curriculum has already been fed into the computers.

The Colombo University Information Technology Faculty and open source software developers have supported the software developing process. Over 850 software programmes relating to the curriculum from year one to five is issued with the laptops.

The laptops have been designed for rough use since it is used by children. It is powered by two power sources, electricity and solar power. Apart from the operating system in English, children can operate the computer either in Sinhala or Tamil languages. The computer comes with a sound system letting students play sound tracks. This facility helps the students to learn music, pronunciation of words and learning aesthetic subjects etc. High bright screen provides the maximum viewing opportunity to the user even in broad day light.

"Since the laptop can be operated by solar power, it may be an ideal solution for the underprivileged schools which do not have electricity supply. The computer can probably be a tool which increases the quality of education as the feedback of the computer is high," Minister Gunawardena said.

 

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