November 9th, 2012
12:06 PM ET

How fast can you learn?

For more Last Look watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS" this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.

Ethiopia has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world, and the village of Wonchi is no exception. Nobody there can read or write. That’s why I was astonished when I saw what Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop per Child organization did there.

They dropped 20 Motorola tablets, preloaded with mostly literacy apps in the village with no instructions. Within four minutes, one boy had found the on/off switch – an unknown entity in these parts – and he then taught the others. In a few days, they were each using about 50 apps each.

Watch the video for the full Look.

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Topics: Africa • Technology

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. David Barth, CFA

    Bill Gates should do the same instead of funding the criminal enterprise known as the UN.

    November 9, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Reply
    • say what

      And what have you done for the most underprivileged?

      November 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Reply
  2. Beni

    I am originally from Ethiopia living in the US. I know part of Wonchi and it is not as remote as you displayed it.

    November 9, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Reply
    • Ted

      Who cares?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • deep blue

      Good to know.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Reply
    • Walter White

      What does "as remote as you displayed it" even mean?

      November 9, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Reply
  3. Haahahahahahahah

    Kind of like when they gave the Africans a basketball in the movie Airplane!!! Hahahahahahahahahahah

    November 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply
    • say what

      Not cool.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Reply
  4. daniel1971

    How much did Motorola pay for this ad?

    November 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply
    • say what

      Again I ask, "what have you done for the underprivileged".

      November 9, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Reply
  5. 100 % ETHIO

    Wow! Wow! Wow!

    Praised the Almighty God!
    Ethiopia is a Great Country!
    Ethiopians are Blessed!

    We Ethiopians have very-Well known Three Thousands Plus years history.

    Our Great-History and Strong connection with Almighty-God, it has been, it is and it will continue.

    In Almighty God name, we all know THE HOLLY BIBLE has 66 Books. Which are Old and New Testaments. But, the blessed land Ethiopia has 15 more Books added on the 66 Books I mentioned above.

    Great-Mother Land the blessed Ethiopia has Great Christian-Religious people. We prioritized our Christian-Religion and our Blessed Land than anything else.

    We are totally different from other Africans and Middle-Easterners, when it comes to historical prides and heroisms.
    Our Hospitality is Great! Ask the Great-Britain, who knows our History, Kings and Queens.

    We are the Bloodlines and Life-Saviours of Desert or dry-lands of Sudan and Egypt. Since the World has been created, our BLUE-NILE RIVER with its edible Soils, keep feeding Egypt (Evil Heart and Mind) and Sudan.

    Heroically, Great-Ethiopia, never been Colonized nor defeated by any Foreigners.

    However, many thanks to Great-Britain, who continuously being loyal Friend and helping Ethiopian Soldiers during WWII to destroyed the Fascist Italy, who came with Artillary Heavy Weapons and Mustard Gasses to take revenge against My people. But, the Fascist Italy has been turned into DUSTBINS, automatically. The rest of them who were taken alive becomes and Serves as SLAVES for My people, until we setted them free.

    Proudly, we Ethiopians never and ever had Inferiority. Still now, we stand tall. Unlike any other African Countries who lost their prides during Slavery, we have Great Respect for Europeans and beyond. Our Hospitality and respect to the Western Countries, will continue. It is our Tradition!

    Again, in this Veterans Remembrance Day, many thanks to Ethiopians and Great-Britains(GB), who Sacrificed their precious lives and times, during the War.

    Praised to the Lord, the ALMIGHTY GOD!

    November 10, 2012 at 4:24 am | Reply
    • paco

      Explain to me, what is the importance of 15 more bibles and what is the relation to this topic? Whatever # of bible we have in the world, isn’t enough already?
      I understand and cherish your difference from the rest, but then again, why is this important in this topic?
      The core of human problem are seeded on your way of thinking (I am better than anyone else…or separate ourselves from the rest)
      Yes I know MOST Ethiopians dont suffer with inferiorities, then why are you defending yourself so much?
      Didn’t you read the topic at all? to my understanding, the writer was trying to make point about human learning abilities when it comes to technologies.
      Everything is relative, what for me “is not”, “it is” for someone else, from the writers point they are illiterate, his writing was not to undermined those people, He used intelligence to reflect how technology learning is sutable and easy even in communities where conventional education are not well applied.
      Relax, dont wait to be offended

      November 29, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Reply
  6. Nas

    I seriously doubt that what's shown here to be the complete truth. I bet there is a good number of people in that village who write and read. I bet these children have their own "school" that teaches them something in " Amhari" or probably even some English. I've been to worse looking villages in East Africa and there are always people who can read and write "even in English". A lot of work needs to be done, but I seriously doubt the very "strange" picture painted here.

    November 10, 2012 at 5:55 am | Reply
  7. j. von hettlingen

    Children are the best human resources a country can have. So investing in their education will give good returns – economic growth and prosperity. In many parts of the world, education is only assessible, if one can afford it. It's wrong!

    November 12, 2012 at 5:08 am | Reply
  8. USN Ret.

    Education is only accessible to men in many parts of this world and until a very young and brave little girl was almost killed no one seemed to care. No religion should oppress its followers "NO RELIGION". At one time almost all major one have but most have grown up.

    November 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  9. Meron

    we have our own language and alphabet where ever in Ethiopia People can read and write by our language and alphabet.

    December 19, 2012 at 8:56 am | Reply
  10. ニクソン アウトサイダー

    I all the time emailed this weblog post page to all my contacts, as if like to read it after that my
    contacts will too.

    July 12, 2014 at 4:00 am | Reply

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