LUBANG ISLAND, Philippines – The local government of Lubang
Island, non-government organizations, and private companies have
launched the “One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)” project that aims to provide
free laptops to elementary students in the island.
The first 100 units of XO computer laptops were distributed to
Grade 4 students of Lubang Integrated School and Maligaya Elementary
School during the event that saw the presence of Department of Education
(DepEd) Secretary Armin Luistro, Lubang Mayor Juan Sanchez, and
Occidental Mindoro Governor Josephine Ramirez-Sato.
Sanchez said the project aims to increase educational opportunities
for the school children in order for them to cope with developments in
global information technology.
The project was put together by past and current employees of the
National Computer Center (NCC) who had Sanchez as its first managing
director in 1969.
Private organizations such as MetroBank Foundation, Metro Pacific
Tollways Corporation and Philippine Military Academy Class ’55
Foundation also helped in putting up the funds in acquiring the first
100 laptops. Sanchez is a member of PMA Class 1955 and is a retired
colonel of the Armed Forces.
Education Kindling (E-Kindling), a non-stock and non-profit
organization, collaborated with NCC for the deployment and program
design of the education project.
The OLPC program is an initiative started in 2002 by Nicholas
Negroponte of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to create
educational opportunities by providing children in developing countries
with a rugged, low-cost, low-power and connected laptops.
The laptops have content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, and self-empowered learning.
Luistro said the school children of Lubang, though not lacking in
their capacity to learn, do not have the same opportunity as their city
counterparts to acquire their own personal computers.
“For us at DepEd, this initiative of NCC staff equalizes the
learning opportunity of learners in urban centers and those in remote
areas,” he added.
Luistro stressed that the students will be relieved from the burden of carrying their heavy school bags.
Sanchez said that the OLPC project was chosen over the option to
just donate personal computers to schools because support infrastructure
is available locally, internationally and online, for both hardware and
The technology is appropriate for remote areas. The laptop is
sturdy, requires low power use and is easy to maintain. It also uses
free and open-source software that can be customized in the field.
“These advantages make OLPC an ideal approach for implementing
computer based learning in a country like the Philippines or Lubang for
that matter,” Sanchez explained.
“Compared to my grandchildren who have all the convenience of a
computer, anong magiging future ng mga bata sa Lubang, they’ll remain
poor forever. I felt I should do something about that could close the
gap” he added.
Sanchez said he was invited by the NCC to join their reunion in
Sydney and convinced his former classmates to donate 60 laptop computers
The school curriculum or lesson plan will soon be integrated in the
laptops’ content. The content development for the Lubang pilot school
will be part of the project.
The XO laptop is designed for the use of children ages 6 to
12-covering the years of elementary school-but nothing precludes its use
earlier or later in life.
The XO has been designed to provide the most engaging wireless
network available. The laptops are connected to each other, even when
they are off. If one laptop is connected to the Internet, the others
will follow to the web.
Children can be permanently connected to chat, share information on
the Web and gather by video conference, make music together, edit
texts, read e-books, and enjoy the use of collaborative games online.
Upon success of the pilot test, 400 additional students will get their own laptops.
Currently, OLPC is being implemented in Uruguay , Peru , Rwanda ,
Mexico , Mongolia including the school district of Birmingham , Alabama
in the United States. It recently expanded to Australia.
Source: ABS-CBN News, Arnell Ozaeta, 12-06-2010