News

Kenyan School Benefits from One Laptop Per Child Initiative

The One Laptop Per Child Initiative was launched four years ago by the U.S. non-profit group of the same name
The One Laptop Per Child Initiative was launched four years ago by the U.S. non-profit group of the same name

Multimedia

The US-based One Laptop Per Child Initiative creates educational opportunities for poor children around the world by providing low-cost, durable portable computers. Seven countries in Africa are already participating in the initiative. One school in Kenya has set up a pilot program to test the computers.  Cathy Majtenyi reports for VOA from Nairobi.

They gather around what looks like a bright, plastic green and white notebook.
 
It is their gateway to a new world of learning and wonder.

Students at Our Lady of Mercy Primary School South B in Kenya's capital have received 16 of these computers from the One Laptop Per Child Initiative.

They have had them since March of this year in a Grade 8 pilot project.

So far so good, says 14-year-old Marvin Oyuke, who says that he has used the laptop for his geography homework. "I learned that Lake Tanganyika is the second deepest [freshwater] lake in the whole world and Lake Victoria is also the second largest [freshwater lake] in the whole world and River Nile is the longest in the world actually and Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest [mountain] in Africa," he said.

The One Laptop Per Child Initiative was launched four years ago by the U.S. non-profit group of the same name.

Seven countries in Africa are already participating in the initiative.

Kenya is not yet on board, but if the test pilot at Our Lady of Mercy School is successful, Kenya could become the first East African country to join the program.

Sister Agnes Kariuki, headmistress of Our Lady of Mercy South B, says that there has been limited use of the computers at her school.

Security is a big issue in Nairobi's South B neighborhood. Sister Kariuki says her school is looking for funds to beef up the building and procedures before the computers can be used on a regular basis. "About three times we have had very serious break-ins and they have interfered with the previous computers that we have been using in the offices," she said. "They have stolen parts of those computers, which means grounding them."

She also wants to wait until a new computer laboratory is finished being constructed. And, she says, the packages did not come with the proper gadgets to recharge the laptops.

Sister Kariuki says she sees big potential with the laptops, especially once the national syllabus Misingi Pack is installed. "Children are curious. They want to know how to use the computers and to learn through computers," she said. "They also want to be in the modern technology."

Students say they are excited about the computers.

Fourteen-year-old Naomi Mudiay says she likes the laptop because she can carry it around with her, and it prepares her for the future. "I just think it is such a good idea to let us to have the opportunity to use the computers so that when we are older, we already know how to use them so that when we want to get jobs, some of them might want us to be more high-tech in the computer learning. We already know it earlier," she said.

To date, the One Laptop Per Child Initiative has provided more than one million laptops in 31 countries and in 19 languages.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs