The government yesterday launched its One Laptop Per Family Project, for which it will spend $1.8 billion this year.
But 84-year-old Eileen Rowe hopes this time around it is not about just promises. Two years ago the President promised to give her organisation, the New Hope Cooperative Land Society, computers.
Yesterday, she braved the steps of the International Convention Centre, walking cane and all, and took the microphone, to say just that, reminding the President about his unfulfilled promise.
Clearly embarrassing the President, Rowe explained that after the Head of State made the promise, she wrote the Minister of Agriculture, as directed. Later, she received a response to say her request was sent to the President, but had heard nothing since.
In response, the President said that he does not see all the letters that go to him.
Rowe is expected to head to the Office of the President this week to meet with the manager of the project to sort out the details.The Volunteer Youth Corps, The St Francis Community Developers, some students of the Abram Zuil Secondary School, and some Hinterland Scholarship students were the first to receive laptops from the President yesterday.
The President said that the programme will be rolled out over two years, and would benefit mostly poor families. The project aims to hand out 90,000 computers.
He predicted that there would be teething problems in the way the project would be rolled out and urged all to commit to making the project a success.
The government will provide home-based and community training support to operate the laptops by using volunteers who will receive a stipend. Centres would be provided with subsidized internet access, free wireless routers and training materials.
Those who receive the computers must commit to using a fixed amount of time towards helping others and once they complete the training will receive a certificate from the Office of the President.
The government said the project aims to prepare knowledge-based workers, who are capable of enhancing their own growth. The primary focus of the project is on youth, single parents and disadvantaged group.
The President said that the project will help to meet the government’s larger objectives for the Information and Communications Technologies sector.
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