The National Data Management Authority, on October 10, made a donation to the Friends Primary School located in Sisters Village, Berbice, to support the school’s One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative which will see students receiving special laptops aimed at assisting them in their studies and giving them access to technology at an early age.
The OLPC originated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is an educational project aimed at providing primary school children (ages 6-12), low-cost, connected laptop computers. The special XO One Laptop per Child computers are intended to give the children the opportunity to use technology while supporting and supplementing their existing curriculum.
The Peace Corps Volunteer giving a presentation on the OLPC
The project was introduced to the school by a Peace Corps Volunteer, who said that the NDMA’s donation will go towards purchasing the first 25 laptops which will equip an entire class.
“As a volunteer teacher I conducted many of my literacy pull outs using my tablet and laptop. The students responded very well and were eager to engage with the devices at a greater level. The parents showed interest in having educational programs installed on their own tablets, but the type they had, it was not possible,” the Volunteer said. “The teachers noticed the students’ interest and engagement, so I proposed the XO One Laptop per Child (OLPC) educational laptop. I researched it and saw many South American/Caribbean countries were also using this educational approach and felt it would fit Friends Primary School.”
The Volunteer stated that with support from the school’s Headmistress, a committee was formed which included teachers and Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) members. The committee made a grant request of one million dollars to the Peace Corps, to receive this grant the community was to come up with 30 percent ( GYD$376,500). “As of today, our request is moving forward in its review by the Peace Corps Small Grants Committee and we look to hear back soon. It is the NDMA’s donation that has put us on track to make this project a reality, we thank them for their support,” the Volunteer said.
NDMA Chairman, Mr. Floyd Levi stated that the donation is in keeping with the NDMA’s mandate to bridge the digital divide.