Budget 2012: OLPC gets cash, praises govt

Rangan Srikhanta, CEO of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Australia, has praised the government for its decision to provide a grant of over $11 million to the foundation as part of this year's Federal Budget.

Rangan Srikhanta, CEO of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Australia, has praised the government for its decision to provide a grant of over $11 million to the foundation as part of this year's Federal Budget.

OLPC rolls out a cheap, rugged, low-power device designed to act as a collaborative tool and mobile learning centre to children in need. Roll-out sites are sponsored by government grants and industry donations, so that the children who get the devices don't have to pay.

So far, 20 sites around Australia have benefited from the OLPC program, with devices currently rolling out at another 47 sites. An additional 29 sites are scheduled for device deployment over the next 12 months, with another 17 schools expressing interest in the program.

The Federal Government is allocating $11.7 million to the OLPC initiative, which will fund 50,000 laptops and relevant accessories for primary school students in remote parts of Australia over the next 12 months.

"Participating schools will also receive information and communications technology (ICT) coordinator professional development, local repair kits and access to helpdesk and online support," budget documents added.

The OLPC Australia CEO expressed his awe and gratitude at the grant on the OLPC Australia blog.

"It gives me tremendous pleasure to inform you that the Australian Federal Government has committed to fund One Laptop Per Child in Australia for $11.7 [million] this year. Additional funds will come from the schools participating in the program, and from corporate/public donors," he said, while also thanking his team.

The government also extended the non-profit organisation's deductible gift-recipient status for a further three years as part of the deal.

The 2012-13 Federal Budget was last night handed down by Premier Wayne Swan. See ZDNet Australia's full coverage from Canberra.

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