The first Sri Lankan project of the internationally lauded One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Foundation was officially launched on Thursday with "over 400" primary school children being presented OLPC XO laptops “personally” by the country's President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, according to a statement by the local arm of OLPC.
Further, again according to OLPC Lanka Foundation, the "[project's] pilot phase will benefit over 1,300 children in grades 1-5, chosen from schools in all the nine provinces in Sri Lanka". The bulk of these (1,000 XO laptops slated for nine schools) have been funded by the World Bank while a further 300 (earmarked for four more schools) have been paid for by the private sector. Interestingly, the statement also notes that "[one] third of all schools in Sri Lanka are small schools with 100-200 or less children".
The XO laptop is described as "unique in its inbuilt features such as mesh networking to enable small groups to communicate with each other and also solar powered recharging capability permitting children with no access to grid power to use a computer for learning and development.
These features clearly differentiate the XO Laptop from other equivalents that are essentially stripped-down versions of normal business and home laptops".
The local version will also come pre-loaded with Sinhala and Tamil content developed by the University of Colombo and the local Open Source community while, overall, the project is said to be "directly" supervised by the Ministry of Education's ICT Division.