GROUP AIMS TO PROVIDE LAPTOPS TO SOLOMONS STUDENTS

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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Oct. 3) – A pilot project in Solomon Islands aims to provide every child with a laptop and Internet access.

The "One Laptop Per Child" initiative started in the United States with a plan to create a laptop computer costing less than US$100.

[PIR Editors Note: Nicholas Negroponte is founder and chairman of the One Laptop per Child non-profit organization. He was co-founder and director of the MIT Media Laboratory in the U.S. The mission of the One Laptop per Child movement is to provide laptops to all school-aged children in the developing world.]

The goal was to help make Internet access a reality for people in developing countries.

The Solomon Islands trial is being run by a group of Internet activists from New Zealand, Australia, Solomon Islands and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. They aim to roll out the project across the Pacific islands.

A recent study from the University of the South Pacific showed only one per cent of primary schools in the South Pacific have access to information technologies.

A New Zealand member of the initiative, Ian Thomson, has told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat the laptop project will have many benefits.

"I think it's certainly going to be an educational revolution," he said. "The idea is that given access to the right information these people will be able to make better decisions about their futures and about their directions so it's really just about empowering people, I think, through the Internet and through these $100 laptops."

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