Libya to Buy 1.2 Million $100 Laptops

Most people would likely not think of Libya as the beacon of technology in education, but if the government has its way it could soon be. The New York Times said Wednesday that the nation is planning to purchase 1.2 million "$100 laptops" for its school-age children.

The country's government signed a $250 million deal with the One Laptop Per Child project, which would cover the cost of the units plus the necessary servers, training and satellite Internet connections. The rollout should be completed by June 2008.

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If the project is successful, the country could become the first to offer the simple laptops to its students. Other agreements are in the works with countries like Argentina, Brazil, Thailand and others; however, nothing has been finalized in those countries as of yet.

Libya's move is only the latest of several aimed at opening up the country after years of isolation, and follows others that are meant to soften the country's public image. Leader Moammar Gadhafi publicly denounced terrorism in 2003 and opened up the country in hopes of bolstering Libya's struggling economy.

Production of the laptops is not expected to begin until the middle of next year, although test units would be shipped next month to participants. While the Linux-powered laptop will initially cost $150, it is expected to eventually drop in price to $100 or perhaps even lower.

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