3 Low-cost computing device cost elements

There are a variety of direct and ancillary costs involved in the implementation of a low-cost computing program. The initial costs include the LCCD, software licences (if not included with the LCCD itself), as well as certain peripherals (printers, additional memory, etc.), network access, and development of content specifically for the LCCD program.

Other costs involve taxes, as well as the transport and distribution costs related to the deployment of the LCCDs. The size of the country can have an impact on distribution and transport costs. A smaller, more urbanized, country will have lower costs than a large, rural one. The training of pupils and teachers on the LCCD is another initial, ancillary cost.

There are also a variety of ongoing costs related to an LCCD program. These include costs related to the maintenance of devices, software upgrades, security, ongoing network access costs, electricity, and staff costs, if applicable.

The above-mentioned initial and ongoing costs will vary substantially, depending on the scope of the program. Some projects are national (e.g., hundreds of thousands of LCCDs for a nationwide implementation in Uruguay) whereas others are more localized (e.g., a 30 LCCD pilot in Mali). The magnitude of the LCCD implementation has economy-of-scale implications for various elements, such as the price of the LCCD.

The software that comes with the LCCD, along with government policies for applications and educational content, affects software costs. Some countries may find that the applications that come with the LCCD are sufficient for their needs while others may want to use applications that can be downloaded at no cost via the Internet or purchased commercially. In terms of educational content, there are hundreds of free packages and applications.

Content is already available in some countries, even if it sometime must be modified to run on the LCCDs. Brand-new content may need to be developed in other countries. Some costs can be internalized, such as training or content development. In other words, rather than requiring additional government educational expenditures, elements of the LCCD project may have no impact on budgets if the activities already exist in government school systems. For example, there may already be a content development centre for computers. Governments might be able to transfer funds from educational activities that are no longer a priority to new LCCD projects.

Given this diversity in scope, it is possible to anticipate the necessary cost elements, but difficult to provide specific costs associated with these cost elements, since this will vary significantly based on the scope of the program and the country in which the program is being deployed.

Figure 3 -1: LCCD cost elements

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