U.S. Supports One Laptop Per Child in Kosrae
July 10, 2011
While in Kosrae to tour the medical assistance projects under Pacific Partnership 2011, U.S. Ambassador Peter A. Prahar also participated in the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Ceremony at Tafunsak Elementary School on July 7. Made possible in Kosrae by a four-hundred thousand dollar Compact Supplemental Education Grant (SEG), the first set included 810 laptops to be utilized for students grade 5-8; the second set of 720 laptops will incorporate grades 1-4. OLPC is a U.S.-based non-government organization established to provide affordable education devises to the developing world.
Also in attendance at the ceremony were Kosrae State Governor Lyndon Jackson, Lieutenant Governor Carson Sigrah, Department of Education Director Lyndon Cornelius, Tafunsak Elementary School staff, students, and community members. U.S. Navy Captain Jesse Wilson, Commodore of Pacific Partnership 2011, served as an honored guest.
At the 2006 World Economic Forum in Switzerland, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) announced its plan to assist OLPC to deliver "technology and resources to targeted schools in the least developed countries.” OLPC utilizes the XO-1, an inexpensive laptop designed to provide children better knowledge access and opportunities to "explore, experiment and express themselves."
In 2008, One Laptop Per Child Inc., and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) formed a partnership to introduce the OLPC concept in the region and conduct small pilots of the XO Laptop in schools in 5 Pacific Island Forum (PIF) Countries: Nauru, Niue, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. In 2009-10, 17 PIF nations introduced the OLPC program in their schools. Countries include the five original pilot countries plus the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu.
During his remarks at the ceremony, Ambassador Prahar explained that while the new computers will expose students to information and opportunities, he reminded the participants that the technology is “like a hammer in the hands of a person. The person has a choice. He can either use the hammer to break a building down or use it to build a new structure…Used ineffectively, this new tool can become an impediment to learning and personal growth.”
Noting the importance of embracing the digital age, Ambassador Prahar challenged ceremony participants to utilize the OLPC program to “embody and win the solid commitment and active participation of all of the stakeholders in the Kosrae education system.”