OLE Nepal Presentation at 1cc

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Contents

Introduction

Rabi Karmacharya from OLE Nepal came to 1cc on May 30, 2008 to share his thoughts with OLPC staff.

Credits

Notes were taken by Kim Quirk, with minor edits by Bryan Berry and Paul Fox.

Notes

Board of directors

Rabi Karmacharya works with Bryan Berry on OLE Nepal; presented information from a recent trip to Denmark (who has sponsored much of their work).

Found their own board of directors: Medical doctor, bank CEO, Lawyer (delicensed frequency band) Individuals are from the private sector. They got money from the government of Denmark to help with this education project in Nepal. OLE Nepal is working together with Nepal's Department of Education. Rabi expects it will take 3-4 years to completely hand over administration of OLPC to the government.

Nepal education statistics

In 1951 there were 351 schools in Nepal; In 1971, there were 7250 schools (after the fall of authoritarian regime); 32% enrollment. In 1971 started a push for mass education. In 2003 there were 28,000 schools, 87% enrollment; but 46% drop out by grade 5. Focus has been on quantity... now OLE wants to help improve quality and reduce the disparity of education. Nepal government has signed on to "educational for all".

  • 25 million population, Nepal
  • 8 million school age children
  • 2-3 million in Kathmandu
  • Average 80 students/class in the south
  • In the sparsely populated areas, there might be only 10 students in a grade level, so they will have multi-grade classrooms.

Goals of OLE Nepal

OLE is creating software to integrate the laptop in the curriculum. They are also doing teacher training and trying to get the involvement of the teachers. Teacher preparation (not really training). Design and installation of physical infrastructure. Connecting schools together is one challenge, then bandwidth to the internet is the next level.

Goal: 3-4 years and then government should take ownership of the project.

Connectivity issues

Nepal has created their own server and hope to roll this out. John explained the limitations of our 'chatty' mesh and the recommended practice for wifi, school server that might help Nepal to be successful. Our recommendation is an infrastructure access point (wifi) with school server including a jabber service.

Other info

  • 200 laptops have been received; 135 given to children and 20+ given to teachers
  • 1 case of sticky keyboard, 1-2 battery problems
  • Touchpads - lots of complaints at the beginning; sweaty fingers; pushing too hard; sometimes the problem just went away over time or with a reboot. If you go into a school today you might find 10% of the kids complain about the touchpad. But they get around the problems.
  • Using build 703
  • Spare parts will be needed

Power

Power racks were built for charging laptops; the kids are mostly sitting on the floor so there is no way to have power cables. When the laptop has low battery, they need to put in the charging rack for a few hours.

Paul Fox's notes

You might include Rabi's comment that one teacher thought that having the chargers remain at school might be a good thing, since it encouraged the kids to come to school every day.  :-) They don't send the chargers home, since it's more important that the laptops be chargeable while at school than at home.

(in conversations with Richard and me after the broader meeting, Rabi made it clear that the availability of extra batteries, extra chargers, and the bulk charger, are very interesting. Many kids don't have power at home, meaning they have to charge their laptop when they get to school. This makes using the laptops during the first class of the day problematic.)

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