OLPC Afghanistan/Deployment News
As of early 2011, there are 4,700 XO laptops in Afghanistan, 3,700 of them in the schools below. Another 450 are being distributed this summer by Paiwastoon for use in continuing education by older students.
Deployment News of OLPC in Afghanistan
In December 2008 OLPC Afghanistan deployment team received 10 XO's from the Ministry of Education Afghanistan, for a test lab which was based in PAIWASTOON office. These XO's are used for experiments and testings in OLPC-AF Office by its technical team, in order to develop and test new activities and software for XO's.
Localization into Dari and Pashto
Localization of XO tools and interfaces into Afghan languages (Dari & Pashto) has been successfully completely, Pashto translation is completed both in pootle online translation server as well as our Entrans translation server, Dari translation was completed offline and then uploaded to pootle server. The translation over Entrans was also successfully completed.
To load the localized interface into XOs, the MoE in cooperation with ACSA verified (approved) the translation of both localizations. The Pashto Verified / adjusted files were compiled and uploaded to the XO machines before the deployment in Jalalabad, where now its being used in XO laptops.
We developed a literacy game for Dari and Pashto languages, together with Afghan Satellite Teachers. We continue with development of new guides (for activities themselves), searching new/current activities and looking which are usefull/suitable for kids. And working on health and economic development materials. We are in a search of more literacy software / materials and we are developing E-speak in Pashto.
Our Technical Trainers and User Service Officers finished the Dari and Pashto documents for support of teachers; e.g. Teacher & Student User Manuals, online libraries etc. That are now available online on our site for download and offline on school server in first pilot school; Estiqlal High School, Jalalabad along with a list of offline websites accessible for kids any time.
First Pilot Project
In its first deployment plan OLPC-AF provided XO's to every single child in a school in grades 4, 5 & 6 in Jalalabad city of Ningarhar province. The school is Esteqlal Hight School with 1020 children of grade 1-6. Twenty teachers have been trained in this school and now they teaching students with XOs.
Before the deployment we had only 500 XO's in country. The deployment should have been started in the last week of January, however it was postponed to February 10th, At last it happened on March 17th. As we didn't had sufficient amount of XO's available there for all kids in the mentioned school, we deployed only to all children in selected grades at first - we made sure that all children in those grades received XO's and once we receive remaining amount from OLPC we would deploy XO's to the rest.
ISTIQLAL high school
School : Istiqlal High School Location : Jalalabad City, Ningarhar Province Deployment : Grade 4, 5 & 6 Students : 396 Teachers : 12
Istiqlal High School has been selected out of 3 pre-selected schools in the city of Jalalabad, Ningarhar Province as the first deployment school. The parent's attitude, community acceptance, teacher's and school's representative overall attitude towards OLPC were the major factors for selection. Also the school size and the number of students in that school was the best match for our first pilot school.
The Master trainers were trained in Paiwastoon office and they trained the teachers in the school. The test training of teachers started in Kabul on 19th January to 23nd and on 25 the full Teacher's training in selected school in Jalalabad started and continued till 29th January. After the completion of teachers training, the Deployment Ceremony took place on March 17th in the Governor's palace, Jalalabad city and 396 XO's were handed over to the students of the selected grades of the school. Grades 1-3 were in the deployment plan, but due to the education status differences in Afghanistan to the rest of the world, the students of that grades were excluded from the deployment.
Roshan Telecom provided internet connectivity (64 kbps) to the school, and now students are connected through the mesh network as well as Low-speed (Just for upgrading of sugar/activities) internet connection.
18th March was be the 1st day of teaching with XOs in our first pilot school in Afghanistan.
Matt Keller, The Director of OLPC in Europe, Middle-East and Africa visited OLPC Afghanistan offices on January 25th and had meetings with Partners of OLPC project in Afghanistan.
The OLPC Afghanistan distributed 396 XO Laptops to Istiqlal High School in Jalalabad to cover grades 4,5 and 6.
On March 17th, 2009 a ceremony took place at the governor's palace including the Deputy Minister of Education Afghanistan, Director of ICT for the Ministry of Education Afghanistan, Director general of ICT for Ministry of Communication and IT Afghanistan, parents, children (top class position holders e.g. "honor roll"), USAID/ASMED's regional manager and the OLPC Afghanistan Technical Implementation Team.
The deployed laptops are pre-installed with:
- Complete localization of all core activities in both national languages of Afghanistan (Dari and Pashto)
- The Ministry of Education standard national curriculum books
- Economic information for parents including advice on job interviews etc, a local business directory, a guide to starting a business in Afghanistan, and research of different possibilities for starting small businesses locally.
- Health information (Basic Hygiene, Nutrition, Hand washing - some remaining to be translated)
- Localized updated manuals / guides that replace the standard user manual and appear when the user clicks the Help Icon
- Information for parents about the XO laptop and it's benefits
Children were of course delighted to receive the laptops and quickly started exploring. The Technical Implementation Team is following up the pilot school to see how the kids and their teachers are getting on with OLPC XO laptops. Teachers have already received a 4 day training and had the laptops themselves for over a month to prepare.
Here are a few snapshots of the deployment ceremony and kids with XO's in school.
In a second phase of work, XO laptops were distributed to 5 schools in Kabul city, and one school in Kandahar. This phase also focused on giving laptops to kids from grades 4, 5 and 6.
Two schools have been approved where our team is starting with technical measurements, meeting teachers etc.
- Sorya High School in Kart-e 4, Kabul city. It's a girl's school but has couple of boys also attending in grades 1-6 (in some classes they are mixed, in some separate).
- Omeid School (also called Hope school) in Wazir Akbar Khan Watt, Kabul City. This school is semi-private, mixed boys and girls (they don't study together in one class - girls study in morning, boys in the afternoon).
The Zarghona Ana middle school was the first school in Kandahar to be part of the OLPC program. In March 2010 they received and distributed XO laptops to 744 students and teachers.
Roshan and Paiwastoon helped the school set up connectivity and work with master trainers who could train the teachers over time. There was some violence near the school in the following month, briefly interrupting the initial weeks of introduction to the laptops, but this passed.
Other selected provinces for implementation
Schools in 5 provinces of Afghanistan have been considered for the next phase of implementation. OLPC Laptops would be deployed to Kabul schools and 25 selected schools in four other provinces. A full list of primary schools there (grades 1-6):