10 September, 2010

Australian charity puts XO into the remotest communities

 Grade 2 student Jeremiah Johnson at Doomadgee State School with his
new laptop computer. Picture: Brian Cassey  Source: The Australian 

OLPC Australia Ltd has broadened its reach to Queensland with the annoucnment it has brought the XO now to the remote Doomadgee State School, in far northwest Queensland -- more than 2200 kilometres northwest of Brisbane, and some 500km from the nearest major town, Mount Isa.
The charity has distributed some 4000 laptops in Australia, paid for through private donations and with the support of major corporations such as News Corporation, which has provided much media coverage free of charge to the organisation. In a front page article in The Australian today, editor-in-chief, Chris Mitchell, said the newspaper was proud of its long-standing support:
"Education is one of the most important things you can give a child," he said. "This program helps give kids in remote parts . . . educational opportunities they've never had before - opportunities we take for granted in the cities."
The remoteness of the Australian deployments underlines the facility of OLPC to reach the most inaccessible communities, a point not lost on Pacific educators where about 6000 XOs are now in use.
More than a dozen Pacific countries requesting assistance on OLPC from major donors such as AusAID will be hoping the re-election of the Gillard Labor Government in Australia bodes well for their aspirations to improve the opportunities of their children to bridge the digital divide and join the global revolution in electronic delivery of education.
The Australian government in May granted OLPC Australia Ltd charity tax deductible status, a move estimated to generate in excess of AUD$2 million in subsidies to the Australian program.

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