So there we were, at Harvard Square Au Bon Pain, surrounded by chess players, Harvard students, lazy stroller, bums and street performers. Both Rabi and Nancie had Xos with them. We sat down at a table facing the street and engaged in a long conversation about OLPC, technology and life choices.
Rabi said they were very idealistic and naïve when they started OLE Nepal three years ago. They had no funding, but they believed that as long as they are doing good work and can show great results, they will get funding and eventually support from the government. They had a good team and were lucky to interest first sponsor the Danish Embassy in Nepal. Later, there were more sponsors, including Food for education group. The program is giving kids food so that they come to school to study, and if their attendance reaches 75%,parents get a liter of cooking oil every month. Richard and Rabi asked, what if these kids go to school for food at first, but in the future they will come to school for education? OLENepal’s annual budget in year one and two was 400,000USD.
Rabi named three phases of their demployment:
Phase One from April 2008 to March 2009 (Nepali school year) was testing. They started with 2 schools grades 2 and 6 and 135 OLPC laptops.
In Phase Two from April 2009 to March 2010 the pilot was expanded to 26 schools and 2,000 XOs (2,000 more is coming). Not as big yet as Uruguay (350,000 XOs) or Peru (40-50,000 XOs), but big enough to go nation-wide.
In Phase Three, it is expected that the OLPC project will expand across the entire country. More about phases of the OLE Nepal pilot is here: http://olenepal.org/olpc_pilot.html
AS per Rabi, there are four essential elements in a successful deployment:
1. Content, 2. Educators, 3. Network, 4. Capacity