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Computer for schools in developing countries - Decision making tool for sustainable supply strategies

TitleComputer for schools in developing countries - Decision making tool for sustainable supply strategies
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsBöni H, Streicher-Porte M, Marthaler C, Camacho A
Conference NameElectronics Goes Green 2008+
Conference Start Date8-10 September
Conference LocationBerlin / Germany
AbstractTo overcome the digital divide, policy makers in developing countries are caught in a red queen's race. The Red Queen in L. Carroll's ‘Through the Looking Glass' says "It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place." Firstly, the fast and economic supply of ICT equipment is a necessary condition to widen computer liter-acy. Secondly, only with the provision of up-to-date technology, ICT literacy can be raised to a level on which the beneficiaries can keep pace with fast changes in ICT standards. Lastly, policy makers have to take into account national conditions, such maintenance capacities and appropriate disposal strategies, in order not to increase a foreign dependency on cost of fast ICT dissemination. In order to avoid the above mentioned dilemma, but also include the specific conditions of a developing country, in this case Colombia, a comprehensive sustainability as-sessment of different supply strategies for computers to schools was conducted. Based on a Material Flow As-sessment, the economic, environmental and social dimensions of different supply strategies have been evaluated. The evaluation results are asymmetric: Refurbishment of computers which prior have been used in Colombia, is the overall most sustainable scenario, although the costs per computer are higher and the technical standards are lower than in the other scenarios. To provide new XO laptops is preferable if the cost per PC and the technical standard are intended to be optimised. This scenario has environmental disadvantages due to the production of new products and social shortcomings due to the manufacturing outside Colombia. To provide refurbished com-puters from industrialised countries is an intermediate scenario. Colombia has embarked a national promotion campaign to increase computer literacy. Other countries on a similar level of economic development as Colombia are faced too with the question on how to increase computer literacy. Therefore, policy makers need a decision making tool if they want to design such programs sustainable.
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Boeni_2008_EGG.pdf250.57 KB
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