OLPC India/Bhagmalpur

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Contents

Demographics

School

पूर्व माध्यमिक विद्यालय Poorva Maadhyamik Vidyalaya (Pre Middle School)

School Entrance

Village

Bhagmalpur भागमलपुर See photos at http://www.zooomr.com/photos/sameerverma/sets/40075/

A Bhagmalpur kid and his toy

Location

Approx. 10 km south-southwest of Shahganj, UP

Map

Aerial view http://tinyurl.com/bhagmalpur

District

Jaunpur जौनपुर

State

Uttar Pradesh उत्तर प्रदेश

Nearest Railway Station

Shahganj शाहगंज

Nearest State Transport Bus Stop

Banuwadeeh बनुवाडीह

Postal address

Village and Post Office Bhagmalpur

Khutahan Development Block

District Jaunpur

Uttar Pradesh, 222104, India

School Description

Photos

Several photos are posted at http://www.zooomr.com/photos/sameerverma/sets/40063/

Garima, a brilliant student at the school

Video

A video walkthrough of the school http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hr8QRjUgS1w

Community Map

http://olpcMAP.net?id=799001

Blog

http://bhagmalpur.wordpress.com

Building

The school has one main structure, which was intended to house the upper level classes inside. Given that each class has a large student body, classes are held under a tree. The school has three large trees. The structure is used for administrative offices, storage and for cooking a mid-day meal.

Class being held under the tree

Student density

School building
Class
No of students (July 2008)
1
90
2
90
3
100
4
88
5
54
6
201
7
251
8
213
Total:
1087

Teachers

The school has a total of 11 teachers. Each teacher teaches multiple courses.

Subjects taught

Most well-equipped classroom
Class
Subjects
1
Hindi, Mathematics
2
Hindi, Mathematics
3
Hindi, Mathematics, English, Sanskrit, Social Science, History, Geography
4
Hindi, Mathematics, English, Sanskrit, Social Science, History, Geography
5
Hindi, Mathematics, English, Sanskrit, Social Science, History, Geography
6
Hindi, Mathematics, English, Sanskrit, Social Science, History, Geography, Agricultural Science, Sports, Physical Training, Environmental Science, Civics, Home Science (girls)
7
Hindi, Mathematics, English, Sanskrit, Social Science, History, Geography, Agricultural Science, Sports, Physical Training, Environmental Science, Civics, Home Science (girls)
8
Hindi, Mathematics, English, Sanskrit, Social Science, History, Geography, Agricultural Science, Sports, Physical Training, Environmental Science, Civics, Home Science (girls)

The school is run by the state government of Uttar Pradesh. The UP government provides books and a mid-day meal. Currently, there are no computers and there is no Internet access. The nearest private school with a computer is in a village a few miles away.

Impediments

  • Electricity: Bhagmalpur is on the grid, but electricity is sketchy at best. A typical day will see about 2 to 4 hours worth of electricity. Households in the village opt to use solar, gobar gas (cow dung biodigestors) and kerosene lanterns for lighting. Some places use gobar gas or traditional chulha (चूल्हा small fireplace) for cooking. Some households use LPG (Liquified Propane Gas) but gas tanks that have to be taken to Shahganj for refilling/exchanges.
Source of Gobar (cow dung) for Biodigestor
Gobar (Cow Dung) Gas Biodigestor
  • Internet access: This can be provided via CDMA, but currently there is no setup for Internet access. Due to poor signal quality, most cell phones work only on the roof of a two or three storey structure.
  • Governance/administration: As this is a UP government school, implementing an OLPC-based solution will require some “blessings”.
  • Curriculum:Considering that curriculum is not computer-based, transition to a computer-based or computer-mediated environment will be challenging.

Deployment

Note: This project has deployed 26 XO-1 laptops.

  • Pilot approach: The current pilot is based on a model where the laptop goes to the youngest school-going child in a family. The laptop stays with the child and may or may not go to the school with her. Support for charging, questions about Sugar are provided by a member of the Verma family in Bhagmalpur. The Verma household has become the hub of collaborative activity. The Verma household also hosts a XS School Server, but does not have Internet access as yet. We hope to deploy a digital library service using the Pathagar framework over the summer of 2013. Note that the pilot phase bypasses the local school entirely.
  • Full Deployment: A complete deployment will require one laptop per family. Bhagmalpur has approximately 50 households, so with another 45 XOs we can provide one laptop per family in Bhagmalpur. The full deployment approach will include the local school by providing XOs at the school for use in each class, including access to XS School Server material, but the deployment model is not dependent on the school's success with professional development, training, deployment, maintenance and evaluation. In other words, the school is yet another unit in the network, albeit a different one.

Time frame

The pilot is ongoing, with plans to support each household by June 2013.

Visit

I had the opportunity to visit Bhagmalpur recently (Oct/Nov 2008). I took a couple of XOs with me to the school. The children absolutely loved it. The teachers instantly appreciated the features and ease of use of XO and Sugar. One of the teachers pleaded that a handful of his students be considered for getting XOs as it would change their lives. Bhagmalpur has never seen the Internet...until this trip. I was able to send an e-mail and an IM for the first time ever from Bhagmalpur! All via a GPRS connection and an XO. Photos are posted at http://www.flickr.com/photos/olpc/sets/72157608738164746/

The next visit is planned for Summer 2012.

Funding

As is the case with most deployments, the owners of the XOs and their families cannot afford to pay for these technologies. The funding for this project is coming from the Verma family in San Francisco with ample support from the Contributor Program and other donors of XO-1 G1G1 laptops.

Why Bhagmalpur?

While Bhagmalpur seems to be a classic village for such a project, there are thousands of such villages in India that could use these resources. The reason I am looking at Bhagmalpur is a bit personal: my family lives there.

Bhagmalpur

I am a professor of Information Systems in the College of Business at San Francisco State University (http://verma.sfsu.edu/). My research topics are related to diffusion and adoption of innovative technologies. My current focus is on the diffusion and adoption of Free and Open Source Software.

The school mentioned above was started by my family many years ago, but was transferred to the UP government later on. We have lived in this village for many generations. Our ancestry can be traced back to the days of Mughal Emperor Akbar (mid to late 1500s), so our family has a vested interest in the education and general upliftment of the quality of life in Bhagmalpur. Knowing and understanding the local community is important in terms of assessing the needs and providing apt solutions.

In a sense, I have witnessed both the supply side and the demand side of this project, the demand being in places like Bhagmalpur, and the supply being the terrific worldwide FOSS community and the OLPC project. Putting the two together is of professional and personal interest to me.

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