Holy Mother School
Joshua wrote: Holy Mother School is an English medium school in Nashik, Maharashtra. We are a private school established in 2004 by Joshua and Heera Pritikin. My wife runs the school, and I funded it out of my own savings.
Heera wrote: Teaching was something I was passionate about. Both of us thought of doing something for the society. We constructed a big building in India. There I started tutoring poor students who were not able to pass the matriculation exam. When I started teaching these students, I found that they were very weak in their basic concepts. I felt like I need to do something more significant in this area. I got the idea of starting an English medium school in Nasik, India. My husband helped me with money to build a school and procure the necessary materials. To run the school efficiently and to know more about schooling, I decided to apply for education studies at University of Oregon.
A small OLPC trial has begun as of July 2008. We are working on an Internet connection. We already have a machine to serve as a school server.
We would love to make the laptops child owned but
- There are 120 students in 1st grade and older.
- Students pay about 105 USD per year in tuition.
We purchased 15 laptops for 2008-2009. For 2009-2010, we ordered another 15 laptops.
Our implementation is simplistic because we are not yet trying to achieve child ownership. The laptops are owned by the school. The children spend a few hours a week working with them. As the kids and parents become more comfortable with the laptops, we expect to move towards child ownership and closer integration into the curriculum.
We hope to save ourselves from disappointment by starting with low expectations.
Update 08 Mar 2009
Since we can't afford one laptop per child, we are planning to buy 1 USB key per student. The students will own the USB keys.
Update 22 Jun 2010
We brought 11 XO-1 laptops from USA acquired on Ebay. Damage has accrued to many of the keyboards. Fortunately, Rashmi Vadnagare (firstname.lastname@example.org), a local engineering student, volunteered to perform some repairs.
Update 14 Aug 2012
After discontinuing laptop access for 1st grade and younger, the keyboards are doing much better. There has been practically no keyboard damage for the last two years. The laptops are holding up well. The main part that is failing is the power cable. The cable seems to be weakest near the plug (picture below with a red circle). A few power supplies failed as well, but most of the failures are merely frail wires in the cables. We are ordering more loose plugs from ilovemyxo. It is curious that 2A 12V power supplies are available locally for 3 USD, the same price that ilovemyxo is charging per loose plug.
We finally got high speed internet access this year (768 kbps; faster is available for a higher monthly fee). I set up an internet gateway with shorewall and dansguardian. Getting the network working was much more of a challenge than I expected. Our ISP uses some kind of IPv6 stuff in their PPPoE implementation. This confuses squid into thinking that IPv6 is supported. I had to recompile squid without IPv6 support to persuade it to stop trying to browse IPv6 addresses. In addition, I was running into random data loss issues. I am not sure about the exact cause but it was solved after I enabled Clamp-MSS and turned off rp_filter for the ethernet interface used for PPPoE.
All laptops are loaded with the latest release 12.1.0. I customized the release slightly to make pentablet mode the default. The capacitive touchpad is just wildly unreliable. I think this will be the first year that the laptops are at a reasonable level of usability. Software upgrades provided by OLPC have made a huge difference. Better late than never.
You can reach Joshua at email@example.com. The school phone is +91 94222 58308.