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'Laptop Per Child' Programme Pilots in the Philippines
Source: www.futuregov.asia
Source Date: Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Focus: ICT for MDGs
Country: Philippines
Created: Dec 16, 2010

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) programme will help close the digital divide in schools on the island of Lubang, Occidental Mindoro.

In coordination with the National Computer Centre (NCC), eKindling has deployed 100 XO Laptops to the island’s two public schools - 95 for students, four for teachers and one for technical staff.

Educators, students and administrators have been trained on how to repair the laptops with a local team established to provide added training and educational support.

OLPC Philippines’ Susan Abaya, the former NCC head, told FutureGov Asia Pacific that the project would introduce the wonders of technology to pupils in Lubang’s schools.

Abaya also noted that it was the first project of its kind in the Philippines and South East Asia and only the seventh in the world.

“If possible, if we would like to encourage organisations to support this initiative through funding - we want to replicate this not only in Occidental Mindoro but in the other provinces [in The Philippines] as well,” she said.

“Another good part is the parents will also learn how to use the technology because these pupils can bring these laptops to their homes”

The OLPC program was started in 2002 by Nicholas Negroponte of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

OLPC’s mission is to provide a means for learning, self-expression, and exploration to the nearly two billion children in the developing world with little or no access to education.

OLPC partners with the East African Community to deliver 30 million laptops in the region by 2015.

It has also announced a partnership with a UN agency to deliver 500,000 laptops in the Middle East.

Department of Education IT Director Paul Soriano told FutureGov Asia Pacific that the government would be assessing the project before a potential national rollout.

“We have to assess first our capacity to provide one laptop for each student. What we should prioritise first is to ensure that each student will be able to use at least a computer in every classroom.

“If there are fifty students in each classroom, there should be fifty computer units for each student to use.”

XO laptops are about the size of a small textbook and have built-in wireless functionality and screens which allow children to read outdoors. They are designed and built especially for children living in some of the most remote communities.

According to eKindling Education Director, Tessa Yuvienco, it is very important for children to experience the educational possibilities of digital learning.
“We want to show how technology can provide a meaningful, transformative, and connected education to the children of The Philippines,” she explained.

During pilot testing each XO laptop was valued at cost US$229 or about P10,000 each. OLPC recipients will be able to use them until they finish elementary school.
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