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Computer donations give young a click start

IBM plans to donate 23 workstations to state kindergartens, probably in areas where children have poor access to computers and the internet.

ABU DHABI // IBM plans to donate 23 colourful workstations to state kindergartens, which will probably end up in areas where children have poor access to computers and the internet. The computers come with educational software designed for children aged three to seven in the form of teaching programmes, with such titles as Millie's Math House and Sammy's Science House.

Working in partnership with governments worldwide, IBM operates a charitable programme called KidSmart Early Learning, which was launched more than a decade ago. Since then, more than 30,000 computers have been given away in more than 60 countries. In the UAE the programme has been operating since April 2006, in which time more than 150 KidSmart stations have been given away. Khaled Hassan, IBM's marketing and communications leader for the Middle East and North Africa, said the programme was important because it introduced children to technology at an early age.

The Ministry of Education has not yet released a list of schools that will receive the new KidSmart stations, but in previous years it has selected those in distant areas that may not already have access to computers, Mr Hassan said. The Ministry of Education pledged recently to enhance IT in state schools. A new centralised IT centre was announced in December, for example, and last autumn a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Etisalat to connect state schools to high-speed internet.


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