One Laptop Per Child Finds New Partners in Sri Lanka Test Run

Virtusa adopts OLPC as a pet cause, tests and improves hardware and software.

OLPC

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) has had its fair share of critique and controversy, but if any of that is putting a damper on the project, someone forgot to tell its founder, MIT Media’ Lab’s Nicholas Negroponte—now he's partnered with IT consulting group, Virtusa, which has decided to run user scenarios and tests to help improve the software and hardware behind OLPC.

Critics of the laptop plan have asked: Why put so much energy and money into developing a simple, inexpensive, durable laptop and education software, when the true need lies in creating a quality educational ecosystem that relies heavily on trained teachers and only to a limited extent, on tools such as the OLPC XO laptop?

Virtusa, no doubt experienced in technology in developing countries, could help answer that as it continues to support OLPC—in war-torn Sri Lanka, no less, where Internet usage is only about 5.5% of the population. About 1,300 laptops have been distributed for 13 rural schools. Would teacher training make a bigger impact? The debate goes on for now. Answers, hopefully, soon.

[Top Image via flickr/jsbarrie; thumbnail image via flickr/Rodrigo Mesquita]

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