Nagorno-Karabakh is a landlocked region which seceded from Azerbaijan in 1991, and has been engaged in a low-grade military conflict involving Azerbaijan and Armenia ever since. Recently they have launched a New Education Project to improve primary education across the region.
Many of the children in the region have schools, and some have internet access. This week, they launched a small OLPC project, deploying laptops to 3,300 students in 16 connected primary schools in the cities of Stepanakert (the region’s capital), Shushi, and Karin Tak.
Vladik Khachatryan, Minister of Education and Science of Nagorno-Karabakh, was present at the launch. He announced,
This program will improve the quality of education of elementary school students in the NKR, and what is more important, will make more information available to them and their families… within a short period of time we will be able to establish equal educational opportunities in all NKR.
Education is a key factor to breaking the vicious cycle of ethnic hatred and violence for children who live in conflict zones.
I look forward to seeing the project develop, and hope that the recent focus on children and education brings stability and peace to the region.
This guest post is from Sameer Verma, professor at San Francisco State and founder of the OLPC-SF regional group.
I was on sabbatical leave at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Fall 2008. There, I helped start the Center of Excellence (CoE) at the Mona School of Business at UWI. Through the CoE, we started the OLPC Jamaica project on September 5, 2008. In Jamaica the team has been led by Craig Perue – who was two weeks ago appointed Advisor to the Minister of Education!
It has been three and a half years since that first effort, an uphill battle to get the project going to fulfill its goals of early childhood education, technology in remote and rural places and community outreach and impact, not to mention supporting IT infrastructure (server, wireless LAN, content filtering, traffic management) remotely over a VPN for 5 year olds 🙂
Last year, we implemented 115 OLPC XO laptops in two schools, and the results have been amazing. I was on a data collection trip over the recent break, and what we are finding through the initial analyses is impressive: An increase in numeracy by 12%. And the most sought-after program is TuxMath. Other results will be interesting as well, we hope.
Here is a brief on OLPC Jamaica and a video clip (12 minutes well spent) of what we have done so far. These are *my* children 🙂
SF State is mentioned in the credits at the end. This is also an example of OLPC’s Contributor Program at work. We were fortunate enough to have been seeded with 10 OLPC XO-1’s in 2008.
Gabriel Sanchez Zinny writes about how businesses in Latin America are seeing education reform as essential to local growth, and starting to invest in it. They make some thoughtful comments about our work with Zamora Teran in Nicaragua and the current work in Ometepe:
In Latin America, education reform – when it has even broken onto the political agenda – has long been seen as a stereotypical battle between the free-market right wing and the powerful, entrenched teachers unions. Now, however, a consensus seems to be growing, with leaders from across the ideological spectrum throwing their weight behind reform. In country after country, Latin American businesses are teaming up with NGOs and governments to deliver better educational outcomes.
In Nicaragua, the influential Zamora clan (one of the “twelve families” that have played an outsized role in the nation’s history) has teamed up with the non-profit group One Laptop Per Child to provide thousands of Nicaraguan schoolchildren with access to the internet for the first time. The Fundacion Zamora Teran is largely funded by the Roberto Zamora-owned Lafise Bancentro – a regional investment group worth over $600 million – and has handed out a total of 35,000 laptops in Nicaragua, with a donation most recently of 5,000 units to the island of Ometepe, making it the “first fully digitized island in Latin America”.
George Hunt has recently been experimenting with the XS schoolserver (currently XS 0.7) on various hardware setups. And he is tracking his work on a blog dedicated to the purpose. We are now including it in the OLPC Planet newsfeed.
It’s a good read if you have been trying similar things at home or in your own school. You can contact him with questions or comments through his blog.
Two progressive towns in Ecuador is launching an olpc scheme: 4000 students and teachers in elementary schools in the cities of Cuenca and La Libertad will get laptops this year. The program includes its own plan for repairs and support, comprehensive training for teachers, and work integrating digital content. Schools involved will get one of XOs, Classmates, or HP netbooks, and the results will be compared. In all, the program will cost $2.5M, and will serve as a pilot for the district. If successful, it will be expanded to further elementary schools.
From a summary of the program:
El Ministerio de Educación de Ecuador firmó un convenio en septiembre del 2010 para Mi Compu, un programa piloto Uno a Uno en las escuelas. El plan se propone distribuir computadoras portátiles a 3.200 estudiantes y 172 docentes en la ciudad de Cuenca, y a 622 / 26 en la ciudad de Santa Elena.
Las computadoras portátiles XO, Classmate y HP se distribuirán y se compararán en cuanto a sus ventajas técnicas y pedagógicas. El piloto ofrecerá también un soporte técnico robusto, mantenimiento de las computadoras, conectividad y software para docentes y estudiantes; va complementado por 120 horas de capacitación docente que consta de tres módulos: familiarización con el hardware y el software, uso pedagógico de las TIC en el aula, y una introducción a las herramientas de medios digitales tales como software especializado para maestros, investigación en Internet y contenido digital educativo.
El objetivo es estudiar el impacto de las computadoras laptop sobre los estudiantes y los docentes, tomando en consideración la distribución de computadoras, su capacidad y el soporte técnico. Para más información, sírvase leer: “Se Entregarán Laptops en Cuenca y La Libertad”, Boletín informativo Pizarra, Ministerio de Educación, Noviembre 2010, No. 3