A trial project for the One Laptop Per Child, O-L-P-C, initiative has been launched in three schools in the Western Province.

Batuna Primary School teachers and standard one students have received laptop computers and training while Patukae and Sombiro schools are being prepared to join the project.

The O-L-P-C project is a partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community , SPC, and a U-S based NGO - One Laptop Per Child Association which oversees the creation of affordable education device for use in third world countries.

A joint statement from the O-L-P-C Coordinator David Leeming and Bernard Rapasia of the Ministry of Education says the O-L-P-C are giving 5000 laptops to the Pacific with S-P-C as the implementing partner.

The joint statement says a multi-country pilot is now being conducted with respective ministries and departments of education under the Pacific Plan Digital Strategy.

SPC's OLPC Coordinator Mr. Leeming commented, "This is a very forward looking project and there are some significant challenges. There are those who are quite cynical about the worth of providing laptops to young children, and it is right we evaluate the pilot carefully before committing to any expansion."

The pilot project has started with three trial schools in Papua New Guinea in June.

It says other Pacific countries to follow include Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Niue, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

The statement says a second phase may extend these trials to all forum member states.