On January 30, 2013, hundreds of students and educators joined Minister of Education Dr. Hilda Heine at a morning ceremony to officially launch the One Laptop per Child program in the Marshall Islands. Delap Elementary School on Majuro will be the first school in the RMI to receive and begin using the laptops for its students.
Minister Heine gave a speech detailing the history behind the project’s launch in the RMI, as well as the project’s relevance and importance to education in the Marshall Islands today. Minister Heine emphasized the extensive training of teachers and careful selection of participating schools based on their performance. She further highlighted and thanked the United States government for providing funding for the project through its continued support of the Ministry of Education.
Following Minister Heine, Ambassador Armbruster spoke, beginning his speech with a series of questions for the more than 300 DES students seated in the audience, to which he received enthusiastic responses. Saying that while laptop computers are modern day learning tools which did not exist when he was a student, Ambassador Armbruster explained that his and older generations had their own learning tools, including “Etch-a-Sketches” and abacuses. The Ambassador emphasized to the students the importance of using their own minds and creativity in conjunction with these tools, as well as the importance of taking good physical care of the laptops. The ceremony closed with songs performed by the DES 6th grade classes.
In total, the RMI Ministry of Education purchased one-thousand of these special laptop computers using Compact Supplemental Education Grant funds from the United States. The remaining laptops will be distributed to schools on Majuro, Arno, Ailinglaplap, Aur, Likiep, and Jaluit Atolls.
US Ambassador to the Marshall Islands, Thomas Armbruster, speaks at OLPC launch at Delap Elementary School, Majuro Atoll: