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War of words between aid organization and OLPC erupts

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A war of words has erupted through email channels between Scandinavian-based aid organization FAIR and Dr Nicholas Negroponte of the One Latop Per Child (OLPC) project.

FAIR, which works towards the spread of ICT in developing countries, issued a statement last week, which among other things claimed that OLPC is a risky and expensive program which could mislead poor countries into spending large sums unnecessarily on underpowered laptops. In response, Dr Negroponte fired off an email to Knut Foseide, president of FAIR, refuting the claims and demanding an apology from the organization.

FAIR has dismissed the OLPC concept of a US$100 laptop (in actual fact the laptop costs more like US$200) as non-economic and the technology as unable to meet the needs of students over the age of 12. The aid organization believes a more economical and practical solution would be to build computer labs in schools, preferably using recycled second hand computers from first world countries.

Dr Negroponte, however, in an email to FAIR's president Knut Foseide, refuted the economics of the above example and in turn claimed that the economics of computer labs and recycled computers do not hold up.

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