Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bloggaday 60 – XO, the $100 Laptop Pt 2

Bloggaday 60 – XO, the $100 Laptop Pt 2
Part 2 of a 2 part paper for my Sociology Class. This part is a bit north of 500, but it was the most logical place to break it up.
$100 Laptops
The article makes a very good point. It states that their goal is to “help make education for the world’s children a priority, not a privilege.” While I don’t know if it is seen so much as a privilege, it is definitely not a priority. The priority for the impoverished is immediate survival. Education offers prolonged survival at the expense of the immediate payout. Going to a class doesn’t put food on the table at home. In this sense, education is a privilege for those wealthy enough to provide for the immediate.
This short-term immediate survival method is showing its flaws. The article describes how these countries are trying to play a role on the global stage, but they are being crippled by “a vast and increasingly urban underclass that cannot support itself, much less contribute to the commonwealth.” This culture of the “now” is destroying these countries’ ability keep up with the rest of the world.
Without education for this underclass, the disparities between the nations have and will increase. And our habit of throwing money at the problems we see is not proving an effective method at bringing these nations up from their current position. If we can successfully educate this lower class to not only support themselves, but also contribute to the country’s overall wellbeing, we can start eliminating the gap between developing countries and the rest of the world.
The article continues to describe how this movement and laptop is “designed for ‘learning learning.’” It also offers “children in emerging nations will be opened to both illimitable knowledge and to their own creative and problem-solving potential.” This computer and way of thinking offers a culture where children are encouraged to think and learn. It is more than just sitting in class, a problem in theses countries all its own.
In America, despite recent budget cuts and decreased spending, money is simply thrown at education. While it is a problematic solution to our own problems, most countries don’t even get this far. The article reports that compared to our $7,500 spent per child here, many countries spend less the $20 per child. It continues to remark that little, if any, education reaches the some two billion children of these countries. Most startling, that “One in three does not complete the fifth grade.” The article calls the attempt to build more schools and get more teachers “laudable, but insufficient,” and that their movement could bring “true learning possibilities to the vast numbers of children in the developing world.”
The problem with these uneducated children is the fact that they grow up. They grow up poor and have children. This is another aspect that the article addresses. Children grow up in the same poverty and level of education as their parents. This is an example of the cyclical poverty so commonly known to sociologists. Now, we only have to get the decision makers to see it too.
The starter of the organization himself saw the effects that laptops had on a Cambodian village. The result gave the MIT professor, Nicholas Negroponte, the idea for the organization and the attempt to give every child a laptop.
So many social problems can be traced to a lack of education. Not only is this education deficiency a problem here in America, it is a debilitating disease plaguing the entire human race. There are traditional and some more alternative approaches at solving this problem. One of the more unique and creative solutions out there is what is being pushed by the organization, One Laptop Per Child. While it will take time to see the results of OLPC, it is an intriguing idea that could help solve the problem of education in the world.
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