4.2.8 Student installment plans

One method to help students buy low-cost computers is to let them pay over time, on an installment plan. This makes the computers more affordable and allows the students to begin using them immediately.

Installment programs are generally aimed at secondary and, more often, tertiary-level students. One of the first countries to implement this type of program was France. The Ministry of National Education launched the MIPE (Micro-Portable Étudiant) program in 2004. The effort was undertaken in conjunction with almost all of the country’s universities, as well as with private partnerships involving computer vendors and banks. 164 MIPE offers university students an opportunity to purchase a laptop with Wi-Fi capability and pay for it in installments. The payments are spread out over three years -- roughly the equivalent of paying EUR 1 per day 165 -- and the universities have agreed to provide free Wi-Fi access.

More recently, the Portuguese government has worked with mobile operators to give secondary students laptops, bundled with mobile broadband subscriptions (see the Portugal Case Study). In Namibia, mobile operator MTC offers university students a laptop for NAD 3,999 with a discount on monthly mobile broadband Internet access. 166

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