A Nepali hacker’s wishes for the School Server

Abhishek Singh from OLE Nepal published his long and excellent XS wishlist, generating a long discussion on the server-devel mailing list (1, 2) and other discussion online.   He discusses some specific use cases for current and requested-future features, including:

  • Porting XS to new version of Fedora
  • Support for more architectures
  • Self-tests
  • Web content filtering
  • Shared Journal Backup
  • A platform for socializing
  • Some specific packages needed for the above.

On the list, Martin comments on the package requests, Mokurai weighs in, and Sridhar points out what OLPC-AU has been doing with their XS builds.


A time to learn

In early May, Save the Children‘s State of the World’s Mothers 2010 report ranked Afghanistan last among the 160 countries surveyed, in terms of how easy it was to raise children.

While medical care is often limited, and being an infant in Afghanistan poses many risks, it is also a tough place to grow up. Only 52% of primary aged school children are enrolled in school, where classes are often made up of more than fifty students. Despite the extraordinary restoration of public schools and teachers over the past decade, there is still a lack of teachers and school buildings, and children receive an average of 2.5 hours of school a day. That is half of what children in developed nations (OECD) receive.

These numbers reflect a vast improvement from when the Taliban controlled the country – over the past three years, school enrollment has grown from 800,000 students to 4.5 million. But youthful curiosity is not bounded by time spent in school.  We are working to make sure that, district by district, these children have tools and projects to explore and to experiment with, so they can have time to learn even when school does not have time for them.

A class of Afghan girls at work on their XOs. Photographed by Elissa Bogos

Note: Some information comes from the latest OLPC Afghanistan Briefing Note.


School reports from Kagugu and Rwamagana

Julia recently travelled to Kagugu and Rwamagana to work with the OLPC schools there.

In Rwamagana she ran a week-long workshop, working with the students on programs and storytelling. In Kagugu, she took part in a larger review of the project, and helped them update their XOs with an assist from veteran globetrotter Daniel Drake – exercising the nandblast scripts and gathering data on laptop repairs.

I wonder what Bruce would say about the project today.

Emerald laptops in Oz

Children in remote communities in Western Australia and the Northern Territory are being introduced to the digital world with their own XOs as part of an international program aimed at boosting attendance.  They have been localized to include the local language of Yolgnu Matha.  From an announcement last month as the project was being rolled out:

Mr Lacey was hopeful the laptops would increase the current attendance rate of about 360 students regularly attending out of 500.

“We want to use it as an incentive, come to school….” At Rawa Community School, near the Great Sandy Desert 600km southeast of Port Hedland in Western Australia, the laptops will mean learning can be better adapted to each student.

It will be interesting to see how this fits into the plans of Geoff Anson and the crew at OLPC Australia.   Meanwhile, Pia Waugh of OLPC Friends has joined the Government 2.0 movement in the Australian government and can offer a perspective from both sides of that fence.