I wrote my second short paper on One Laptop per Child in Nigeria, so I thought it might be appropriate to provide a little summary of what I discovered.
People were very optimistic about the success of OLPC in Nigeria because it is striving to become a technology-based country in the developing world. The project is very much aligned with Nigeria’s national IT policy because it enriches the education process and makes knowledge more accessible, even to the nation’s poorest students. Additionally, OLPC promoted IT education for young people, which is a point emphasized by Nigeria’s Minister of Communications Technology. However, the program encountered some hardware problems in its first attempt in March of 2007 and was pulled from the country in December of the same year. Additionally, a Nigerian keyboard maker filed a lawsuit against OLPC, claiming infringement of layout.
A new program was launched in the summer of 2009 through the OLPC-SEED project. The XO hardware did not fail, and aside from a few minor technological difficulties, students and teachers seemed to really enjoy and learn a lot from the initiative. 73% of high school students were shown to be more studious and attentive to their studies and have improved their overall learning. And on an anecdotal note, Miss Manzo, a teacher at one of the OLPC schools has said, “[the project] is one of the happiest things that has ever happened to the school.”
However, I agree with Warschauer and Ames in that OLPC is too utopian to create real change. Like most developing countries, Nigeria lacks the basic infrastructure to improve quality of life. Basics must improve before relatively advanced technology is implemented in the poorest schools.