[Sur] [IAEP] Riots in La Paz: Bolivians don't want Classmates, no no no!

Yamandu Ploskonka yamaplos en gmail.com
Mie Sep 28 23:31:52 EDT 2011

They *want* computers, just not these. According to Mr. Sinani of the 
city government of La Paz, the laptops being purchased now are of the 
"latest technology", while what the parents want are desktops which, 
according to Mr. Sinani, are or "lower technology (?!?!).
Mr Sinani further remarks that the Classmates "do not fulfil the 
necessary requirements for the education of the students".

As to the teachers, as usual their opinion has never been sought 
officially, thought the Trostkist union is against computers, while 
surveys made by the Ministry, whose result was not made public, might 
indicate that the majority of the teachers want computers. Teachers are 
one of the segments of state employees that have had the biggest raises 
in salary in recent years.  a big Operating System corporation got paid 
fees for software, and out of that was going, in "return", to "pay" the 
Ministry to train teachers.  In a personal note, it was interesting to 
know that this corporation was aware of my presence within a company 
that was about to get that contract, and was not pleased (I don't know 
if to be proud that my FOSS credentials were recognized that way, or to 
be upset that they have me in some sort of black list). As far as I 
know, that call for bids was never completed, and those funds might be 
part of the huge segment of the education budget that does not get spent 
(in a given year, out of $35 million USD available in international aid 
for *new* education projects, only $9 million were spent).

FOSS people have "liberated" many Classmates.  Interestingly, the 
proprietary OS that had been loaded on them before being gifted to 
important officials was the 30-day demo that needed a code to operate 
further.  That gave us a chance to educate several of those people about 
what is better. However, the teacher's union is adamant that if there be 
computers, they have to be Windows, while the Ministry technology 
advisors and IT comunity representatives have, almost by unanimity, 
recommended Linux.  Even the representatives from the Universities, that 
are pretty much wall-to-wall windoze, have recommended that education 
computers be Linux.  The result is that machines are being handed out 
without any serious thought, and pretty much immediately loaded with 
pirated software. We know that Mr.Gates does not really mind, as it 
strengthens the grip.

As to China, yes, they have no idea. Of course, these are the 
decision-makers regarding education.

On 09/28/2011 10:11 AM, Alexandro Colorado wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 10:05 AM, Yamaplos . <yamaplos en gmail.com 
> <mailto:yamaplos en gmail.com>> wrote:
>     Because they do not like the Intel Classmate computers the City
>     Government of La Paz gave them, on Tuesday Sept 27 the La Paz union of
>     parents of schoolchildren blockaded the main highway between La Paz
>     and El Alto, with one woman injured due to the tires being burned.
>      "they are made in China and designed to last only one year", is said
>     about these laptops in the linked article, with a  picture of one of
>     the Classmate units.
>     http://eldiario.net/noticias/2011/2011_09/nt110928/5_03nal.php
>     (some of us don't like the Classmates, but to go out and riot because
>     of that, I believe is a first)
> Wow I think there are a lot of pressure by the union who see 
> technology as more extra work to teach teachers in the device, 
> probably without extra pay.
>     (of course things are a bit more complex, because it mostly has to do
>     with who got "bought" by Wintel and who didn't get the sweet - no one
>     in the debate, on either side, cares much about deeper issues of
>     reliability, relevance, responsibility - I've met personally the
>     people in the City Government, and can vouch of this, alas)
> So this is just a wintel strategy like in Chile or will the classmates 
> have a Linux OS like in Venezuela, Paraguay, Peru and/or Arentina.
>     (the mention of China as country of origin proves how much knowledge
>     is owned - at my last meeting there what seemed to be the biggest
>     argument against the XO by the BO Ministry of Education was that in
> I am not sure what that means, anything against china? Do they know 
> everything else including Iphone, Macs, Dell, blackberry and every 
> other computer is made in china as well?
>     Rwanda they are used as home lights by people who have no electricity
>     at home - why that is an argument against, really  beats me)
> I thought that was the argument for it, since there is no electricity 
> that's why the XO was a better unit since it was designed with that in 
> mind.
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> *Alexandro Colorado*
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