[OLPC India] moving forward..

Marc Valentin mvalentin at oeuvredespains.org
Fri Sep 12 08:13:06 EDT 2008

Hi Satish,

I appreciated your last post. Though questions remain without clear
responses, it seems you understood what I mean when I am talking about
transparency and I hope you will be able to bring more transparency in
the future.
We at 'Oeuvre des pains' received 15 XOs from G1G1 miscellaneous
donations and purchased 20 XOs from 'Digital Bridge Foundation'. We
wanted to have at least one machine for two children in a class in our
school. We don't plan to provide machines to all the children as it
would be much too expensive (650 students). So I think we can consider
ourselves as 'private pilot'. I have to say that we choose the XO
because it is an incredible machine, not because of the educative
'ideology' connected with it.

What I understand from your messages is that OLPC decided to start
seriously the expansion in India. That is good, but I feel your goals
are completely irrealistic (quantities) and that makes me a little bit
nervous. Actually, I don't really care if OLPC manage to distribute 10
M or 150 M XOs in India but I really care about WHO is going to get
them. I don't think you can say : 'every time a child gets an XO it is
a success'. No. Even if local governments or private companies donate
for the project, OLPC should have a clear (and transparent) policy to
develop backward areas. There are so much differences between the
cities and the rural areas, between the expensive private schools and
the poor children roaming around and not going to school in the
villages. There is also a very big difference between south India and
north India. You cannot compare education in Kerala and U.P. for

So, practically, I suggest you prepare some rules for OLPC for India
(for yourself). For example :
For each XO deployed in south India, one (or two) should be deployed in north.
For each XO deployed in a city, one (or two) should be deployed in a rural area.
And somehow, 'we', the public, should be able to control that OLPC is
doing it right. (That is what I call transparency ! :-) )

I would be happy to know what others in the list think about this.
I think you definitely cannot trust politicians and managers and let
them deploy computers where they want, even if they finance them,
otherwise you will mis an harmonius development of the education
everywhere. Certainly backwards area would never be touched.


On Wed, Sep 10, 2008 at 2:38 PM, Satish Jha OLPC <satish at laptop.org> wrote:
> Marc,
> I cannot talk about things I am not privy to. As far as I know, we need
> partners who have the capacity to scale up. Our partners in the past not
> contributed any funds so far and a non profit organization OLPC has been
> incurring significant costs for pilots. We need multiple partners. Its a
> project that requires supporting about 20 million children entering the
> primary school system every year in India. The total for the age group OLPC
> is targeting in India is about 150 million. That's a huge undertaking and we
> need partners who are willing to contribute a significant part of their
> Corporate Social Responsibility budget to the cause, and quickly.
> Our discussions with various business houses are very encouraging and these
> are being held with the board and their chairmen. We have to focus our
> energy in that direction.
> We need every partner we can get and we need partners who are passionate
> about it and have resources to commit as we speak. It will be great to have
> this groups' thoughts on how to move forward and what each of us can do to
> achieve that..
> As of now this is what I have to share. Thanks for your understanding.
> Satish Jha
> On Wed, Sep 10, 2008 at 7:14 AM, Marc Valentin
> <mvalentin at oeuvredespains.org> wrote:
>>  >> I consider your observations far from positive in tone and I do not
>> have an
>> >> answer for you. If you are keen on supporting OLPC India, I will
>> >> appreciate
>> >> if we look forward. I do not have answers for things past. Now that we
>> >> have
>> >> a team in place, we will create a website as well. That will take its
>> >> own
>> >> time. Cambridge Center is the official address of OLPC. We can inform
>> >> about
>> >> what we plan and what we achieve now on. I am closing this discussion
>> >> and
>> >> shall greatly appreciate if questions are brought forth in a spirit of
>> >> moving forward.
>> >>
>> >> Thanks much.
>> >
>> >
>> > Satish,
>> >
>> > I really don't think you can close the discussion without a few
>> > clarifications. There appear to be several different entities. There
>> > is
>> >
>> > 1) Satish Jha, President OLPC India
>> > 2) Reliance's Khairat pilot
>> > 3) Digital Bridge Foundation
>> > 4) olpc.co.in
>> > 5) the large list of volunteers on this list.
>> >
>> > I'm all for moving forward, but considering that we, the volunteers,
>> > were here a long time before you joined, the least you owe us is a
>> > connect-the-dots answer.
>> >
>> > Sameer
>> > --
>> > Dr. Sameer Verma, Ph.D.
>> > Associate Professor of Information Systems
>> > San Francisco State University
>> > San Francisco CA 94132 USA
>> > http://verma.sfsu.edu/
>> > http://opensource.sfsu.edu/
>> >
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