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Thailand Nixes One Laptop Per Child

Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child project had big plans for Thailand: The nation was set to play host to one of the project's five pilot programs, and it was expected to be OLPC's flagship in Asia. But politics seem to have gotten in the way.

A September coup effectively ended the career of Thaksin Shinawatra, the Thai prime minister whose cabinet had pledged to buy 250,000 of Mr. Negroponte's $100 laptops, according to The Nation, a Bangkok newspaper. Thailand's new administration now says it has no interest in the project, which would have provided all of the nation's primary-school students with the low-cost machines.

"We will not focus too much on technology and materials," said Wijit Srisaarn, Thailand's education minister, this week. "We will focus on substance."

One Laptop Per Child has struggled to make inroads in Asia: Earlier this year India rebuffed Mr. Negroponte's advances (The Chronicle, July 27). But the project is forging ahead in Argentina, Brazil, and Nigeria, and Libyan officials have signed a memorandum of understanding that could result in the nation purchasing more than a million machines. –Brock Read

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