I have received several news about OLPC's recent developments in other countries and also in my home country, the PHILIPPINES! This gives me a lot of hope in continuing our struggle to introduce the use of laptops for basic education in our place despite the strong opposition from local politicians as well as from officials of the Department of Education. These guys do not appreciate the adoption of this technology because they do not know what it is or its tremendous use in delivery of basic education.
My wife is a public school teacher tasked to educate the out-of-school children, youth and illiterate adults in a municipality with 22 villages, some in remote mountain sides and four in coastal areas that is accessible only by boat or by foot during stormy weather. Our estimate is that our clientele includes no less than 1/3 of our 31,979 population. Our CBMS survey in September 2008 revealed that 25% of elementary school-aged children (6-12 yrs. old) were not in school and 47.47% of those in 13-16 yrs. old are not enrolled in high schools! If you add to that our population older than 16 years who also did not go to school, then our estimate of our people who lacked basic education is quite accurate.
And our municipality has only two teachers to bring basic education to these kids. My wife and her assistant teacher. Plus me who work as their volunteer driver and teacher. So we pioneered the use of laptops to deliver basic education for OSYs and the adult illiterates. We conduct learning sessions for OSYs in various villages using digital modules stored in laptops that we carry strapped on our shoulders as we ride our motobike.
In the process we earned a historical "first" as the first mobile eSkwela Center in the Philippines. We did it because we deeply believed that this technology is capable of delivering education on such a massive scale without need to employ more teachers, build more classroom, print more books, use paper and pens,( thereby sparing trees from being cut down to lessen the threat of global warming!)
But we had stiff opposition. Recently, our newly elected mayor wants the laptops returned to his office. We will have no choice but to obey since the five laptops are all properties of the local government unit of San Fernando.
Please link us to OLPC and Mr. Nicholas Negroponte. We urgently need a replacement for these laptops that we will loose in a week or two. Again, much thanks to you and to the others like you who believe in using laptops to educate people, most importantly the poor people of the world. God bless you.
JOAQUIN ANDES OLITOQUIT
Volunteer Teacher / Network Administrator
San Fernando Mobile eSkwela Community eLearning Centers
San Fernando, Camarines Sur, Philippines