Tamil Nadu seeks 6.8M laptops for older students

On June 4, the Electronics Corporation of the state of Tamil Nadu [ELCOT] floated an international tender for sourcing 912,000 laptops.Requirements include a 2.1GHz clock, 320G hard drive, 2G of RAM, 3 hour battery life, and an Intel chipset. Also required: Lin/Win dual-boot, a 36-month warranty, and managing regional repair centers across the country for 3+ years.

ELCOT tender

ELCOT tender elc58921

The Times of India reports that this is part of a long-term program to provide free laptops to 6.8M pre-college students across the state, and they are hoping for bids under $300 a unit. Unlike previous pronouncements about laptops for children, which were received much media attention with little result, this tender received comparatively little fanfare, and was focused on logistics. The tender closes in early July, and delivery is to start on September 1 of this year.

This free laptop program is a political promise made by the AIADMK party, which is currently in power. They worked through ALCOT to carry out a similar program in 2006, the Free Color Television Scheme,  which provided color televisions to every family without one (4 million in all). In response to complaints that many of these televisions turned up on a grey market, they are mandating hardware and software marking of the machines to note they are from Tamil Nadu.

The AIADMK haven’t budgeted for the program yet, however: this week their Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa petitioned the central government in New Delhi for funds to support it.

Sinhala/Tamil XOs in Sri Lanka

OLPC is making great strides into Sri Lanka, as reported recently in the Sri Lanka Daily News. The small island country, just off the southeast tip of India, is looking to turn a corner after years of internal strife, exacerbated by the devastation of the Tsunami in 2004. It is with great pride and anticipation that OLPC is able to join the Education Ministry and University of Colombo in their goals to provide the nation’s younger generation with skills in Information Technology and the English language.


These complimentary aims, reported by the paper as a motivation for the program that will bring 1,250 new laptops to students in thirteen separate schools, have been widely cited as twin engines propelling innovation and progress in Bangalore, not far across the Palk Straight.

1,250 XO laptops are heading to Sri Lanka!

In addition to the operating system in English, the computers are enabled to operate in either Sinhala or Tamil languages. Please check in (or, better yet, leave word) for progress updates coming out of Sri Lanka. We’re very excited about this new venture and can’t wait to hear back.