In most situations, a donation of a thousand laptops is a pretty awesome thing. But when the donation comes from Intel, a multi-billion dollar corporation with an interest in promoting its low cost laptop line, and the recipient is Vietnam, a nation of 85 million living on less than $3,500 per capita, it'd be a long shot to say that the donation came out of the goodness of the company's heart. Education minister Nguyen Thien Nhan seems to be happy enough with the deal, saying that Vietnam recognizes the value of technology in the classroom (even if America doesn't). Frankly, we don't buy the PR line: it's not sustainable for Intel to constantly "give away" their machines, so the payoff is inevitably going to be some sort of lock-in by getting there first. Even if the concept of laptops in schools isn't flawed, this isn't the way to go about getting them into the hands of students -- let alone students from a country that is listed in the mid-hundreds on the GDP rankings.
[Via The Inquirer]