In Guyana, One Laptop Per Family

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Above: recipients of the Haier netbooks (Photo: GINA)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Guyana launched a programme yesterday aimed at supplying families in the country with one laptop per household, an initiative financed in part by the Chinese government.

The so-called “One Laptop Per Family” drive saw the first 1,000 Guyanese families receive Haier Netbooks yesterday, with 4,000 more to be distributed tomorrow across the country.

By the end of the year, 57,000 notebooks will arrive in Guyana, and the funding has been secured from the Chinese government for the remaining 33,000 devices, for a total of 90,000 by the end of the programme.

“The goal is not just to get [a] laptop in every home, but to ensure that within three years, every single Guyanese is computer literate,” said Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo. “We want to be the most computer literate country in the world.”

Jagdeo said the country was looking at the Information and Communication Technology sector as a driver of wealth creation in the country.

“This sector that we are trying to create is one that has great potential to transform our economy and transform the way we live,” he said.

As part of the programme, recipients of notebooks were required to give 30 hours of their time in training others, and to ensure that all members of their families were trained on the computers.

The move comes as a number of public facilities in Guyana will be connected to the internet at higher speeds thanks to a fibre optic cable coming from Brazil, something that will be completed next year.

A Chinese company has also been contracted to lay a fibre optic cable in another sector of the country.

“This means that we will have fibre optic backbone across the entire country that will allow us to move capacity and to get internet services into these areas,” Jagdeo said.

Haier won the bidding for the project, and the company is now establishing a manufacturing plant in Guyana to assemble computers and other devices for the Caribbean market.

Guyana’s elections are set for Nov. 28.