Sri Lanka is a good example of collaboration between government, ngo’s, and international bodies.
They began an OLPC pilot in 2009, with support from World Vision Lanka, to see what a national laptop initiative might look like. This month they have finished deploying XOs to the last of their 13 pilot schools, chosen from each region of the country.
The program has been supported by the faculty at Colombo University, with educators working on a digital curriculum, texts that are included on every XO, and over 80 software programs (in Sinhala and Tamil) for students in grades 1-5.
Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena, overseeing the program, sees the XOs as “an ideal solution for the underprivileged schools which do not have electricity supply”. Now the ministry is considering how to expand this to the nation’s other primary schools.
Sri Lanka’s Virtusa has been working with our support gang over the past six months to provide a team of testers to help improve test depth and quality for new Sugar releases. They have been working with both XO-1 and XO-1.5 machines, and are now testing our upcoming 10.2.0 release.
OLPC is making great strides into Sri Lanka, as reported recently in the Sri Lanka Daily News. The small island country, just off the southeast tip of India, is looking to turn a corner after years of internal strife, exacerbated by the devastation of the Tsunami in 2004. It is with great pride and anticipation that OLPC is able to join the Education Ministry and University of Colombo in their goals to provide the nation’s younger generation with skills in Information Technology and the English language.
These complimentary aims, reported by the paper as a motivation for the program that will bring 1,250 new laptops to students in thirteen separate schools, have been widely cited as twin engines propelling innovation and progress in Bangalore, not far across the Palk Straight.
In addition to the operating system in English, the computers are enabled to operate in either Sinhala or Tamil languages. Please check in (or, better yet, leave word) for progress updates coming out of Sri Lanka. We’re very excited about this new venture and can’t wait to hear back.