School partnerships


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A wiki or database could help to match partner schools in developed countries and partner schools in developing countries. The OLPC project may be well-suited to promote school partnerships because of the attention the project is bound to attract.

Matching schools in developing countries with twin schools in developed countries could help to finance housing projects. According to the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2007 Summary "good housing for teachers with running water and electricity is probably the most cost-effective way to attract and retain teachers in rural schools".

A model could be a cooperation between both schools' parents' societies where the parents from the developed country financed a guest house for the school in the developing country. The financing parents' society could retain ownership of the building and lease it to the school or the parents' society in the developing country.

Such a guest house could also accommodate visiting foreign language assistants or other visiting teachers.




Parents' societies could also lease equipment, e.g. small tractors, mini combine harvesters, biodiesel processors, cordless power tools, water purification systems and solar air conditioning [2] to their associated parents' societies in developing countries. Semipostal stamps for email could be used to provide proportionate cofinancing to eligible projects. A connection to the OLPC project could be that the OLPC could offer training programs for recommended equipment. Child safety would probably be an important criterion; the OLPC could also keep track of the age of the user and restrict equipment documentation to the appropriate age groups so as to avoid a false sense of competence. Dangerous equipment should obviously come with documentation that explained possible injuries, their treatment and how to avoid them. One could also use extended capability RFID tags to identify persons who have completed a tutorial on the use of equipment.

The companies receiving recommendations for their products this way would probably be willing to contribute the software. This could be connected with a Software Award: The product vendors might be motivated to hire software vendors [software market] to write the software according to the guidelines of the software award and to aim for award winning entries, which could also conveniently provide the first contestants.

Equipment could serve several purposes:

  • It would allow a school to train use and maintenance of the equipment as vocational training, which could include operating a model farm at the school.
  • It would allow a school to rent the equipment to people who had need for it and, possibly, to make some money for the school this way.
  • It could increase the reputation of a school, enabling it to easier attract and retain teachers.
  • It could motivate the formation of a parents' society and make continual membership attractive.
  • It could allow a school to make adult education more attractive.

Laser printers as equipment

For schools that cannot afford the XO yet laser printers may be valuable equipment, so school books can be printed on demand.

The pupils should be enabled to "ruggedize" the printed books with self-made envelopes. A psychological effect of designing the envelope is also that the book may be perceived as a more valuable item.

Computer to plate offset printing may be preferrable for school districts. The parents' societies of participating schools can become shareholders of the printing facility.

Regional ideas

Comment: Obviously one could see it as a moral obligation to send at least one visiting foreign language assistant in return as there wouldn't be a guarantee that the teacher wouldn't be teaching in the partner school anyway and to compensate the risk that the foreign language assistant would have visited a developing country anyway one would probably have to send two or three foreign language assistants.

In Hesse the program Unterrichtsgarantie Plus [1] might, for example, provide necessary funding to allow a school to hire a (trainee) teacher from a developing country as a foreign language assistant (teaching his or her native language), who could visit Germany and learn (e.g.) the German language for a year and then return to his or her own country and might have earned enough to stay several years at the partner school without a salary from the local government, before, possibly, visiting again.

Schools could also purchase E-mentoring [Promoting teacher education] in large quantities from schools in least developed countries as part of school partnerships. One would probably have to actively advertise such programs in universities in least developed countries to provoke a timely response and to allow students to, possibly, prepare for E-mentoring at the university already. One could, of course, allow students with sufficient education to join an E-mentoring scheme at the university already.

One could cooperate with / or implement a similar process with the goal to support cooperatives and LETS which are related to one or several schools. The restriction to school related cooperatives or LETS would support the schools and increase their reputation. A restriction to cooperatives and LETS may be sensible to support larger social groups.

"school related" could be defined as:

  • the cooperative is (owned by) a parents' society,
  • the cooperative operates a school or
  • the cooperative supports one or more identified schools.

Educational currency

An educational currency (somewhat similar to Saber or WIR) could be circulated between partner schools in developing and developed countries. The currency could be usable to buy E-tutoring/E-mentoring, equipment and health insurance or to rent housing. The advantage of using a currency with limited circulation is that recipients of subsidized benefits in developing countries would be motivated to make appropriate use of additional income if a part of the income was provided in such a currency.


  1. ^  tuition guaranty plus: schools receive 1000 € additionally for every teacher they have to hire supply teachers in order to avoid canceled lessons

See also

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