The initiative, launched last month with distribution to the first 1,500 students, is being promoted by Nawaz Sharif and secretary of higher education Kashif Faraz. Umar Saif, who runs the Punjab Information Technology Board, writes about this as the start of great opportunity for every child in Punjab.
It is good to see Pakistan making strieds in this direction, though they like India have chosen to start access to laptops, software, and knowledge with university students.
Attendees and speakers, including the ambassadors from Afghanistan and Pakistan to the U.S., painted a picture of an eclectic mix of people from starkly different backgrounds and professions who came together to talk about One Laptop per Child as something that could be a clear manifestation of U.S. smart power. As Senator McCain said, there is nothing better suited to connect and educate this generation of children than OLPC. This refrain was echoed by both the Pakistani and Afghanistan Ambassadors.
This year, we are expanding our vision by asking Congress to make a concerted push into Afghanistan and the tribal areas of western Pakistan, where isolation and a lack of government reach have spawned some brutal violent extremism.
The OLPC proposal: fight a “soft war” in these areas by giving children access to real education and to the world’s body of knowledge, and by connecting these remote areas to the rest of the planet via computer and satellite. One child. One laptop. One world.