Children go online in computer project

Twenty-seven school children from impoverished families in Kiryat Bialik were given new home computers last week in the latest offering by the government-funded Computer for Every Child project, reports As well as being given the computers, the children and their parents were given 60 hours of instruction in how to use them, free Internet connections and a basket of educational programs, and will receive free technical support for three years. According to the report, the Computer for Every Child program was set up in 1995 by a group of businesspeople with government sponsorship, and aims to close the "digital gap" between the wealthier segments of the population, in which the vast majority of families have computers and in which children are skilled at using them, and the poorer segments, in which home computers are scarce and in which many people lack the skills to use them. Kiryat Bialik Mayor Eli Dokorski said the latest ceremony presenting 27 computers was the sixth such event in Kiryat Bialik and brought to 300 the number of children in the city who had been given computers. He said the children would now be able to gain access to "a huge store of information" that would otherwise have been unavailable to them. The report said the project aims to present 6,000 computers in 2009 and eventually to present 10,000 computers a year. So far, more than 32,000 computers have been presented to children in second to eighth grades in 165 cities and towns around Israel.