Rwanda's OLPC Project Will Be Expanded by Another 100,000 XOs


Resumen en español al final del artículo

Rwanda, which became home to the largest non-South American OLPC deployment in 2011, is continuing to push ahead with its previously mentioned plans to expand its project by another 100,000 XOs. A recent news article contained some interesting bits of information about the latest developments:

OLPC Rwanda classroom
"We will receive an additional 100,000 laptops in May 2012," Nkubito Bakuramutsa, the OLPC Coordinator in the Ministry of Education told The New Times in an interview yesterday.

With regard to the significant infrastructure challenges which OLPC's recent Rwanda Country Case Study mentioned it seems like good progress is being made, at least when it comes to electricity:

"For schools that are far from the grid, we are working closely with the project in charge of electricity rollout in the Ministry of Infrastructure to install solar energy. Closer to the grid, we are working with district officers and Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) to complete the connection of schools to the national grid," he explained.

"This is an ongoing process, but for the current phase, we should have all selected OLPC schools connected to power by June 2012. The sector level deployment will see schools connected faster given the experience we developed in the first phase."

On the education side of things Nkubito Bakuramutsa also mentioned that the project is currently deploying servers in schools which come pre-loaded with educational materials. When it comes to the all-important teacher training component there are also plans to almost double its reach:

OLPC Project has also trained 1,500 teachers and head of schools and is targeting a second round of training which will cover another 1,200.

If I got my Maths right and Rwanda's overall student-teacher ratio is still close to 65:1 (as indicated in the aforementioned case study) then this should mean that the majority, though likely not all, teachers will have received some training after that second round.

So overall it sounds like Rwanda is on-track when it comes to gradually improving and expanding its OLPC project. At the same time I'm also hoping that over the coming months and years we'll see some in-depth research efforts to evaluate the impact of the program on students, teachers, parents, and others.

Resumen en español: Ruanda es el proyecto más grande de OLPC fuera de América Latina y hace poco que anunció sus intenciones para comprar 100,00 XOs más para llegar a un total de 200,000 maquinas. Al inicio de esta semana un artículo contenía algunos datos interesantes sobre este proceso. Aparte de la compra de más laptops el proyecto también esta trabajando en asegurar que todas las escuelas que reciben XO cuentan con electricidad. Además en esta segunda etapa 1,200 maestros y directores reciberan una capacitación. Así en total suena que el proyecto esta haciendo un buen progreso. Al mismo tiempo espero que en los proximos meses y años vamos a ver unas evaluaciones detalladas sobre el impacto que el proyecto está teniendo en los alumnos, padres, maestros y otros.


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