Notes from Nepal lunch with Rabi

C. Scott Ananian cscott at
Sat May 31 11:26:55 EDT 2008

Notes from a meeting we had on Friday with Rabi Karmacharya from OLE
Nepal.  Notes were taken by Kim, with minor edits by Bryan Berry and
Paul Fox.

Rabi: could we get a copy of your slides to post?

Kim: it may be worthwhile for OLPC to purchase a video camera so we
can get in the habit of posting video of talks like this.

Community: could I get a volunteer to wiki-fy this?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, May 30, 2008 at 2:15 PM
Subject: [Techteam] Notes from Nepal lunch with Rabi

Rabi Karmacharya works with Bryan Berry on OLE Nepal; presented
information from a recent trip to Denmark (who has sponsored much of
their work)

Found their own board of directors: Medical doctor, bank CEO, Lawyer
(delicensed frequency band)
Individuals are from the private sector. They got money from the
government of Denmark to help with this education project in Nepal.
OLE Nepal is working together with Nepal's Department of Education.
Rabi expects it will take 3-4 years to completely hand over
administration of OLPC to the government.

In 1951 there were 351 schools in Nepal; In 1971, there were 7250
schools (after the fall of authoritarian regime); 32% enrollment.
In 1971 started a push for mass education. In 2003 there were 28,000
schools, 87% enrollment; but 46% drop out by grade 5.
Focus has been on quantity... now OLE wants to help improve quality
and reduce the disparity of education. Nepal government has signed on
to "educational for all".

25 million population, Nepal
8 million school age children
2-3 million in Kathmandu

Average 80 students/class in the south
In the sparsely populated areas, there might be only 10 students in a
grade level, so they will have multi-grade classrooms.

OLE is creating software to integrate the laptop in the curriculum.
They are also doing teacher training and trying to get the involvement
of the teachers. Teacher preparation (not really training). Design and
installation of physical infrastructure.
Connecting schools together is one challenge, then bandwidth to the
internet is the next level.

Goal: 3-4 years and then government should take ownership of the project.

Nepal has created their own server and hope to roll this out. John
explained the limitations of our 'chatty' mesh and the recommended
practice for wifi, school server that might help Nepal to be
successful. Our recommendation is an infrastructure access point
(wifi) with school server including a jabber service.

Other info:
200 laptops have been received; 135 given to children and 20+ given to teachers
1 case of sticky keyboard, 1-2 battery problems
Touchpads - lots of complaints at the beginning; sweaty fingers;
pushing too hard; sometimes the probelm just went away over time or
with a reboot. If you go into a school today you might find 10% of the
kids complain about the touchpad. But they get around the problems.
Using build 703
Spare parts will be needed

Power racks were built for charging laptops; the kids are mostly
sitting on the floor so there is no way to have power cables. When the
laptop has low battery, they need to put in the charging rack for a
few hours.

Paul Fox adds:

you might include rabi's comment that one teacher thought that
having the chargers remain at school might be a good thing, since
it encouraged the kids to come to school every day.  :-)  they
don't send the chargers home, since it's more important that the
laptops be chargeable while at school than at home.

(in conversations with richard and me after the broader meeting,
rabi made it clear that the availability of extra batteries,
extra chargers, and the bulk charger, are very interesting.  many
kids don't have power at home, meaning they have to charge their
laptop when they get to school.  this makes using the laptops
during the first class of the day problematic.)

 ( )

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