11-05-2009 250000 OLPCs

11-05-2009, Secondary Education Bureau, Ministry of Human Resources Development
21-05-2009, from Dept. of School Edn. & Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development
As per the media reports, India has ordered 2,50,000 number of OLPC laptops for 1,500 schools in India. Kindly look at the references attached alongwith the letter. In relation to this news kindly supply me the following information:

Q.1. Is it true that India is buying 2,50,000 OLPC laptops for education of children? Kindly share the details of the project and its expected date of beginning of implementation.

Q.2. On what criteria schools were selected to be a part of this project? Please provide me a copy of the selection procedure followed for selecting the 1,500 schools.

Q.3. Does this project also looks into the needs of children with physical disabilities and mental challenges?

Q.4. Where do the schools need to register for participating in the project. Kindly furnish the details?

Q.5. I assume that the Ministry of Human Resources Development must have invited tender for this. Kindly provide me copy of the tender specifications, and details of who were the bidders?

Q.6. What other low cost computer options like OLPC is available for schools and classroom teaching (like http://beagleboard.org/static/BBSRM_latest.pdf) under consideration before the Ministry prior to finalizing the OLPC.

Q.7. Kindly share the details of last project Report of building a $10 laptop in India?


1.  India bids mythical $10 laptop adieu, turns to OLPC
by Tim Stevens, posted Apr 28th 2009 at 7:54AM

What's worse than a $10 laptop that winds up costing $30? A $10 $30 laptop that's not really a laptopOLPC XO laptops. Waiting this long to drink the Negroponte Kool Aid means 1,500 schools will get the latest and greatest models, featuring VIA C7-M processors and bumped up storage. The plan is for a total of three million portable computers for Indian schools this year, and while it's unclear just how many will be little, green, and different, that's a whole lot of lappys regardless.

(source: http://www.engadget.com/2009/04/28/india-bids-mythical-10-laptop-adieu-turns-to-olpc/)

2.  With no $10 laptop in sight, India buys 250,000 OLPCs
By Ryan Paul | Last updated April 27, 2009 8:41 PM CT

The government of India has signed an agreement with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project and will purchase 250,000 of the organization's XO laptops. The machines will be distributed to students throughout the country. India's decision to embrace OLPC is a bit unexpected in light of the country's past antagonism towards the project.

OLPC is a nonprofit organization that builds low-cost education laptops to sell in bulk to governments of developing countries. The project, first unveiled in 2005, has faced many challenges and has been forced to significantly cut staff and reduce the scope of its vision. Despite these setbacks, the program is still marching on and continuing to sell units as it works on an updated model and an innovative next-generation version.

OLPC launched a pilot program in India in 2007 with 20 XO laptops at a school in Khairat-Dhangarwada village in the state of Maharashtra. Although the pilot program was successful, the country's Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) was highly skeptical about OLPC, and expressed concerns about the health implications of prolonged laptop use among students.

The MHRD later reversed its views about the health implications of youth computing and launched its own dubious program to build a competing $10 laptop. Unsurprisingly, the $10 laptop never materialized. When the country finally unveiled its highly ambiguous plans for its $10 "Sakshat" computing initiative earlier this year, it was revealed that the device would not be a laptop and would cost significantly more than $10 to produce.

India has finally decided to adopt OLPC after all, despite the government's previous skepticism and plans for building its own technology. PC World, which spoke with OLPC India CEO Satish Jha, reports that the laptops will be sent to 1,500 schools. Jha hopes to ship 3 million laptops in India this year. PC World also says that a small roll-out will be taking place in Sierra Leone, where a human rights group is paying to deploy 5,000 XO units.

OLPC recently announced a hardware bump and plans to drop AMD chips in favor of the VIA C7-M. The update will also boost system memory to 1GB and internal storage to 4GB. Prototype boards are expected to emerge in May. It's unclear if the order placed by India is for the current hardware or for the updated version. OLPC is also working on a more ambitious 2.0 model which is expected to land in 2010.

In total sales and deployed units, OLPC still lags behind Intel's competing Classmate PC initiative. India's purchase of 250,000 XO units will help OLPC recover some lost credibility. It demonstrates that major buyers still believe that the program is viable and that the laptops deliver reasonable value.

(source: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2009/04/india-embraces-olpc-buys-250000-xo-laptops.ars)

Please refer to your application filed under RTI Act, 2005 dated 11-05-2009. The reply to your queries, as pertinent to the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of ICT @ Schools is as follows:

1,2,5,6 : NO OLPCs have been purchased/sanctioned by GOI.

3 : ICT based teaching learning envisaged under the scheme also assists the objectives of Inclusive Education for the Disabled Children.

4 : Assistance under the scheme of ICT @ schools is provided on the basis of the Computer Education plans of the respective States/UTs.

19-06-2009, from Dept. of School Edn. & Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development                                        

I am directed to refer to you application filed under RTI Act, 2005 dated 11-05-2009 and to state that under Computer Aided Learning (CAL) scheme, a provision of Rs. 50 lakhs per district per year is available to the States and it is also proposed to expand CAL facilities to all upper primary schools in the 11th  plan under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) scheme. Since CAL scheme is being implemented by the States, you may obtain any specific information from the respective State Government.

29-06-2009, from Distance Learning Division, Ministry of Human Resource Development                                         

Please refer to your letter dated 11-05-2009 addressed to Shri P. K. Mohanty, Deputy Educational Adviser, Secondary Education Bureau, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education, New Delhi on the subject mentioned above. In so far as Distance Learning Division of Department of Higher Education is concerned, reply to Question No. 7 asked by you is given below:

"This Division does not have any Project Report on building of $10 laptop in India."