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Is an OLPC XO-XS deployment the best a kid can get for the money spent for its education?

A very fundamental question that needs some very profound studying and which has several aspects to be considered. A good way to start is maybe to give and gather some ball mark figures.

How much is spent on education/child in the top 10 countries regarding education?

  1. http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Pages/default.aspx
  2. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/sep/11/education-compared-oecd-country-pisa
  3. Average net return from a tertiary educated person ($) : http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2013/jun/25/education-spending-uk-compare?INTCMP=SRCH
    1. Across the OECD, the average public return for a man's tertiary education is $100,000, while the return for a woman is estimated at $60,000. Assuming that a large part of this 'public return' is reaped through income taxes, some of this gap may be attributable to pay differentials between men and women in OECD countries.

How much is spent on education in the country you might refer to or thinking of regarding education? And how big is the gap between the top 10 and the country you refer too? These certainly are some interesting ball mark figures.

  1. The OLPC educational initiative versus its competitors certainly builds upon the strong points of the educational system in every country. The characteristics and strong points of the educational landscape is that it is organized, structured, there are competent people in its structures, people with competences in just about any field - ICT- teachers, geography, agriculture, etc. but also there's competent people in the administration, there are study bodies in the administration of the ministry of education, there is a minister, a staff, there is class rooms. So given all this, you can save a lot of money, or attribute the money much more efficiently versus private people who have to make sure they are 100% independent. If you have a classroom or a whole school, every laptop doesn't need a spinning big expensive hard drive. A better attribution of costs is to have a cheap - no spinning parts that consume energy - flash memory or similar that can hold more than enough for 95% of what the kids are doing, and an extendable memory via an usb stick and then spent money on a server with a really big hard disk. The really big hard disk on the XServer can hold all the websites and library with all the books and workbooks of all the grades, etc.
  2. Idem for the processor: do you really need to spent that much money on buying the latest computer with the fastest processor? If you're in a school environment it makes more sense to make sure all the XO's have a decent fast processor, but spent some extra money on a fast processor in the XServer, so that when an XO laptop asks some information on the internet, e.g. the XServer will go get the info, and serves it to the XO in easily processable bits. And after a couple of months, it will be clear that kids of a certain age always go to about 99,9% of the time to visit websites and pages their friends have already visited, so the server can store those pages in its memory, so it can serve it to the XO-laptop much faster. This way the total user experience is much better even with lower cost laptops and no need for such heavy internet use and connectivity costs. Since there's no need for spinning HD's on the XO-laptop, there's no need for an excessively large battery, hence again reducing costs that can be spent on pencils, paper, blackboards, salaries for teachers, etc. These are just a couple of examples on how the OLPC XO-XS configuration taps into and makes use of the strong points of a group environment, a class room, a school, an educational landscape.
  3. A tablet or any other laptop that's focussed on private use, where you can't rely upon a group or an organized entity like the educational landscape, a classroom, school, etc., doesn't use those strong points of a class-room, school, educational landscape and spends excessive and unnecessary money on excessively large Hard Disks, with spinning drives, using up energy so pushing for a large battery which again increases costs, etc. And then a tablet doesn't even have a keyboard, so it's more for turning kids into consumers, whereas the educational landscape and OLPC wants to give kids tools to appropriate learning and find out how things work, to tinker with things. A really good way on understanding how a program works it to see how its code works, there's a button on the XO, to show that. A good way to understand how a laptop works, is to open it: the XO is made to be opened, so it can be easily upgraded, or repaired: all you need is a simple cross-screw driver as the XO has all the same screws. Teachers and kids get a training on how to open and repair their laptops and what are the different components. And in function of the age and level the kids have reached, teachers or the kids can get more and more into detail until - anno 2012 - some kids in Peru and Uruguay, turned their XO into a robot ! More on that: OLPC and Robotics. --SvenAERTS 20:03, 24 July 2013 (UTC) (please feel free to improve this text)

Let's compare the costs of a pencil, paper, a blackboard and an XO-XS

  1. Cost= € 162.60 for the XO-4 Touch --SvenAERTS 14:05, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
  2. Cost= € 30 for the PV panel --SvenAERTS 20:03, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
  3. Costs for Deployment: we'll deal with that later as we are now comparing costs of pencils, paper, books, etc. and not the deployment of them, nor instructing how teachers should use the books and exercise books.
  4. Total costs = ± 192 € / 7 years of average life expectancy of the laptop = € 27,43/year or / 12 months/year =2,29 €/month.student.
  5. What does a student/parent get for that money?
    1. All the books and workbooks - even the best books for his grade all of the world - the kid could wish for. Not only for that year, but immediately ALL the books of all the grades: physics, agriculture, books on micro-entreprices, micro-economics and -loans, geography, history, reading, writing, calculus, fairy tale books, books on religion, holy books, etc. etc. etc.
    2. The kid brings all that back home, and brings education to the extended family.
    3. The kid brings al source of light back home: an XO with a blanc screen is a lamp.
    4. The kid brings back home a PV panel, with which radio's/mobile phones can be charged, i.e. a micro-entreprise is set-up and extra revenues can be made.
    5. The kid brings home access to information, which can be a real life changer: imagine a family living producing agro-crops, etc., or goods. All of a sudden thanks to the XO from the kids, the parents can find out the real value of their goods is e.g. 500% worth more than the intermediary trade/sales person has always claimed to them for years. Revenues for the family get to a whole new level, bringing unprecedented - normal - welfare to the family situation, leading probably to again good investment choices by the families which eventually will translate in additional revenues from taxes for the state. One of the main drivers how the OLPC XO-XS deployments pay themselves back. Next to the additional revenues from the generation of CO2e certificates from the projet (source and for more info on this: contact SvenAERTS)
    6. Conclusion: 2,29€/month.student.
    7. Please fill out yourself what is the costs of 1 page of paper, a slate, a pen, how much costs the books kids actually need. I don't have the data for your region/the region you're thinking of, but I think it is more than 2,29€/month.student. And those don't bring additional knowledge or information or a lamp to the families.

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