One Laptop Per Child heads to Australia, helps improve Aboriginal literacy

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Talk about perspective. On this day when Manchester United announced that it had accepted Real Madrid’s £80m bid for Cristiano Ronaldo (who will make something like €211,000 per week in Spain), we here at CG now turn our attention to the efforts being made to improve literacy. One Laptop Per Child—remember them?—has been handing out free laptops to children on Elcho Island, an Aboriginal island some 1,200 miles northwest of Sydney. (It’s part of Australia.) The idea is to help the island’s children with their schoolwork, get a decent education, and improve their lot in life. It’s certainly a more altruistic use of technology than salivating over a digital compass, or complaining, somewhat pointlessly, about a certain Android phone’s keyboard.

Organizers hope to send some 400,000 computers to the whole of Australia, all of which would go to Aboriginal schoolchildren. So far, about 2,000 have been sent.

A main goal of the program is to help improve children’s literacy. Apparently, in Aboriginal communities, illiteracy in English is a chronic problem. Unless something is done to change this, these communities will continue to suffer, if that’s even the right word. I guess the overriding idea here is that a proficiency in English would do wonders to improve these people’s situation there. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

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