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* Sri Lanka President launches One Laptop per Child program
Thu, Dec 10, 2009, 08:28 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 10, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa today launched a pilot program to improve the IT knowledge in the country with the participation of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Lanka Foundation.

The President handed over lap top computers at the Temple Trees today to over 400 primary school children selected from all over the country.

The program partly funded by the World Bank and supervised by the ICT Division of the Ministry of Education, will benefit over 1300 children in grades 1 -5, chosen from schools in all the nine provinces in Sri Lanka.

The World Bank has funded 1,000 computers for nine schools. Corporate sector sponsors included Chart Foundation, a Rotary sponsored non-profit foundation, Hatton National Bank and TIGO who have given an additional 300 units into four schools.

The children selected to receive the computers are among the poorest population in each province. They will be provided guidance on how to operate the unique OLPC XO laptop with inbuilt features.

Education Minister Susil Premajayantha and Deputy Minister S. Sachithanandan, World Bank officials, corporate sponsors, NGOs and other funding organizations also participated in today's event.

The One Laptop Per Child(OLPC) program in Sri Lanka was an initiated in early 2008 by the former Sri Lanka Ambassador to the US, Devinda R. Subasinghe in partnership with the Minister of Education Susil Premajayantha.

The initiative in Sri Lanka was led by Mr. Sunil Wijesinghe through an OLPC Foundation Trust Chaired by Mr. Rienzie Wijetilleke.

The program launched today by His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse, is the first OLPC program to be funded by the World Bank in a Public Private Partnership with the Sri Lankan Government/Ministry of Education and the private sector.

The mission of OLPC Lanka is to ensure that all school-aged children are able to engage effectively with their own personal laptop, networked to the world, so that they, their families and their communities can openly learn with the use of information technology.

(Pictures by Nalin Hewapathirana)

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