Microsoft has announced an agreement with Portugal to put WIndows XP, Microsoft Office 2007, and a selection of educational products onto Portugal’s “Magellan” laptops, based on Intel’s Clasmate PC design. The notebooks cost school children just €50, and are aimed at accelerating technology adoption in Portuguese schools.
“For the first time a whole generation will grow up to have strong English and ICT skills,” said Portugal’s prime minister Jose Socrates, in a statement. “This new generation will be better prepared and able to contribute more to the modernization and development of Portugal. Furthermore, with the Magellan initiative, a PC will be introduced in many homes for the first time, thus also strongly contributing to overcoming info-exclusion in general.”
Via the Magellan project, Portugal hopes to lower the student-to-computer ratio in its schools to as low as 2 to 1 by the year 2010. Right now, the ratio is about 5 to 1. The Magellan computer is made in Portugal by JP Sa Couto based on the Intel Classmate design; the Portuguese government aims to distribute some 500,000 of the notebooks to school children. The country has also just made a deal to offer a million of the notebooks to Venezuela.
The Magellan computers are also on sale in Portugal for &euro285.
Microsoft’s commitment with “Suite Magellan” doesn’t end with software: the company has also committed to offering learning along with education resources for students, parents, and teachers, collaborative online services through Windows LIve Mail, Live Spaces, Live Messengers, SkyDrive, and Office Live WorkSpace. The company also plans to offer training and technical support through the National Teacher Training Program.
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