The First Nation Where All Kids Have Online Access May Be ... Libya?

Dennis Faas's picture

Remember that old TV commercial where each desk in a classroom represented a different country's educational ranking? At the end of the advertisement, an American kid walked to his desk -- and it was way in the back, symbolizing the U.S.'s poorer standard of education compared to the rest of the world.

By 2008, the U.S. -- and every other country in the world -- may be left in the shade again ... this time, by Libya.

By June 2008, Libya hopes to give every single one of its schoolchildren access to a laptop -- 1.2 million, to be exact. If successful, the third world nation could become the first to provide all school-age kids with online access.

Ironically, the small country's biggest ally in getting this ambitious $250 million dollar program off the ground is an American non-profit agency. The plan, called "One Laptop Per Child," or "OLPC," also has the support of the United Nations.

The OLPC computers are expected to cost $100 each. Wireless Internet access will be available, and the machines will forgo the more expensive Windows for the open-source operating system Linux. And believe it or not, the laptops will include either a hand crank or foot pedal, making them usable even when electricity is unavailable or simply too expensive.

The project's chairman, Nicholas Negroponte, previously provided Internet-ready laptops to children in Cambodia. According to him, the first word they spoke in English was -- are you ready for this? -- "Google." (Source:

For more information on "One Laptop Per Child," check out the program's official website:


| Tags:
Rate this article: 
No votes yet