OLPC India/Bhagmalpur

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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 <googlemap version="0.9" lat="26.010471" lon="82.62105" type="map" zoom="5"> 26.010518, 82.620693 Bhagmalpur, District Jaunpur, UP, India </googlemap>

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 not deployed any XOs as yet.

  • Pilot approach (preferred): To implement a pilot study with one of the lower class levels such as 1st or 4th class. This will require a smaller batch of XOs and can be sustained by a mesh architecture.
  • Full Deployment: A complete deployment will require over a thousand XO units, and will not work on a mesh configuration. This will require APs and a significant amount of Wi-Fi space management.

Both approaches can serve to be an important research test bed for sustainable IT, adoption of computer-mediated education, curriculum development, etc.

Time frame

We would like to get the project initiated around October or November of 2008, followed by planned, but frequent assessments. We did a visit with two XOs to show the children what such computers are like and what they can do with it. Follow ups are planned in summer/fall 2009.

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/

Funding

As is the case with most deployments, the potential owners of the XOs and their families cannot afford to pay for these technologies. The funding for this project will have to come from a research grant, donation, or some combination thereof.

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.