OLPC Mongolia/Ulaanbaatar

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Introduction of OLPC to Mongolia

In October, 2007, Mongolian President Enkhbayar Nambar had an official visitation in the United States. During this visitation, the President met with Nicholas Negroponte and signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" contract with OLPC, announcing that every child in Mongolia will have a connected laptop by end of 2010.

Nicholas Negroponte said: "Designed for harsh remote and rural environments, the XO laptop is perfectly suited to the dispersed and nomadic population of Mongolia. We look forward to working with Mongolia as the country takes important steps to empower future generations through education."

Mongolia's President, Nambaryn Enkhbayar added: "We are delighted to be working with One Laptop per Child to enable children's access to education throughout Mongolia. We believe that providing children with such an innovative tool for learning and self-expression will ultimately have a significant impact on the future progress of the country."

The project was supported in Mongolia by two MIT students, Enkhumunkh Zurgaanjin and Jan Jungclaus who promoted the concept and spread the word throughout the country prior to the deployments.


In January, 2008, Mongolia became the first beneficiary of the Give One Get One 2007 program when OLPC launched a pilot project providing 10,000 XOs. A team from OLPC, including Carla Gomez Monroy, Jan Jungclaus, and Enkhmunkh Zurgaanjin were on the ground to help with the initial deployment of 1000 XOs. David Woodhouse from OLPC arrived later in January to set-up the school server.

Elana Langer, OLPC Learning Consultant, arrived in Mongolia in the summer of 2008 with a team of OLPC interns to assist in the deployment of laptops donated through Give 1 Get 1 2007. Elana stayed in Mongolia through the fall and early December to further assist the deployments and core team. In June, 9,000 additional XOs donated through the G1G1 program arrive in Mongolia. Implementation was assisted by OLPC interns Tyler Williams, Cris Anderson, Sonia Porter and Augusta Hixon arrive in UB. Three Mongolian volunteers Odontsetseg Bat-Erden, Damerian Booya and Enky joined them as well. The sustained involvement of these volunteers who deployed the XOs greatly contributed to the success of OLPC in Mongolia. However, this would not have been possible without the simultaneous support from the teachers and students. David Woodhouse believed that “Teachers are putting their hearts into the program. They had their first sessions with the children. Parents, too, have shown support. And the children, of course, love it. The Constructionist model of learning has found wide-spread support within the MoE.”

Funding from the World Bank allowed for the training of teachers and students in the successful use of the XO laptop computers to optimize their effect on students’ learning: Technical assistance will be provided to teach the effective use of the XO laptop computers and ICDL to both students and teachers. Teachers will also receive training in effective lesson plan design and curricular adherence. This training will support teachers in creating lesson plans that can be enhanced with the use of the laptop’s software activities and/or the Internet. The additional financing will benefit all teachers involved in the existing OLPC efforts.

OLPC Team On The Ground

   * Enkhmunkh Zurgaanjin (Dec 20, 2007 - Jan 27, 2008)
   * Carla Gomez Monroy (Jan 6 - 28, 2008)
   * Jan Jungclaus (Jan 7 - 26, 2008)
   * David Woodhouse (Jan 15 - 25, 2008)


The collaboration of the various stakeholders and the Ministry of Education has allowed for the smooth integration of the OLPC project in Mongolia.

• World Bank: approved a grant totaling US$ 1 million is granted for additional financing under the Rural Education and Development Project (READ)

• Rural Education and Development Project (READ)

• Ministry of Education

• Information Communication Technology and Post Authority

• John L. Thornton, Professor and Director of Global Leadership at Tsinghua University in Beijing and former President and former Co-COO of Goldman Sachs, so he is able to donate XO's and he knows how to execute a successful implementation. He is also an Intel director and Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Board, which makes his One Laptop Per Child connection all that more interesting.

Monitoring and Evaluation

GoM has requested additional financing under the World Bank’s Rural Education and Development Project (READ). This funding will go to the design of an effective monitoring and evaluation system to extract relevant lessons from the pilot and adjust the project design as necessary, especially to ensure that XO laptop computers reach their intended beneficiaries. The computers will be deployed in different ways to look at the cost effectiveness of different approaches. This information will feed into the design of future expansions of the One Laptop Per Child initiative in the country.

Media Coverage

OLPC News on Mongolia

7/4/08 UB Post: “World Bank Approves Three Projects in Mongolia”

6/6/08 The World Bank: “World Bank Approves $1.0 M For Enhanced Value Of Integrated Children's Digital Libraries In Rural Schools of Mongolia”

3/10/08 Mass High Tech: “Nonprofit library digitizes books for OLPC's XO laptop”

1/19/08 OLPC Learning Club DC: “XOs arrive in Ulaanbaatar”


10/26/07 Softpedia: “Mongolia Starts The OLPC Program”

Photos by Carla Gomez Monroy

January 2008

Girl XOing
Boy XOing


Girls with XOs
Mother and children

Laptops at school

Opening boxes
Learning together

Teacher and Child
Mother and Child
Out-of-the-box Learning

Mother learning with her daughter
Exploring in class

Friends taking a photo

Learning from each other

Photo with classmates

Group discovering

Teacher session

Teachers exploring
Teachers learning together

Figuring out a laptop
Teacher sharing

Technical session
Team work

Exploring inside the laptop
Discovering together

Temperature test: outside -35C and inside +25C
While waiting

Traditional Mongolian gyr
Visiting student's gyr, close to the school

Getting laptop out of the backpack and plastic protecting bags
XOing inside his gyr

Photos by Jan Jungclaus

Urban Scenario Ulaan Bataar

School No. 4
Entering the school
Laptops reaching schools
Cabling to set up the servers

First activated laptop (right)
Teachers activating XOs
Parents' meeting

One Laptop per Child in Mongolian
Many excited children
The first G1G1 laptop is handed out to a child by the minister of education
Learning together
Laptops in classroom use
Happy girls
The first painting homework

View from school window: A gyr in the foreground
Student on his way home
Student's home gyr
Inside the gyr
Student working with XO at home

Countryside scenario

A few 100km of cemented road, then gravel
Mongolian sanctuary "oovo"
Some remote areas provide electricity
A nomadic family's "gyr" (tent) with self-made TV antenna
A remote gyr during summertime (Aug '07)
The livelihood of a nomadic family is highly dependent on the well-being of their cattle
Goats provide milk and meat
The herdsman family's children live 1km from their school, which they might connect to with XO laptops in future