OLPC in hands of all Uruguay's primary kids

OLPC XO laptop
The OLPC XO laptop has found a home in Uruguay

Things seem to be looking up for the much-criticised One Laptop Per Child venture after Uruguay become the first country to supply the cheap computer to all of its primary school children.

Around 380,000 XO laptops at $260 (£160) per head have been supplied to state primary schools, taking up a full five per cent of Uruguay's education budget.

Election win

The ambitious project is being presented as a success for the incumbent government ahead of a general election on 25 October.

Project director Miguel Brechner told the BBC: "This is not simply the handing out of laptops or an education programme. It is a programme which seeks to reduce the gap between the digital world and the world of knowledge."

Old dogs, new tricks

Nevertheless, there has been some resistance to the new technology, with older teachers cited as needing some persuasion before embracing the XO laptops and their Linux-based operating system.

One school head explained: "We have a lady who's been teaching for 30 years and when they gave us the computers and the training, she asked for leave because she didn't want to have anything to do with the programme. Later she changed her mind and now computers have changed the way she teaches."

Spreading the word

Now, the next step for OLPC could come from its success in Uruguay, as the project leaders there are offering their services as consultants to other countries.

So far, Rwanda, Haiti, El Salvador, Paraguay and areas of Argentina and Colombia have asked about the best ways to get the OLPC ball rolling for themselves.

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.