Some of you may have heard of the one laptop per child scheme which was set up by Mary Lou Jepson. Her aim was to build a laptop that could be used in the most extreme environments, run on solar power, have Internet access and all for $100 or less. The first version she built cost $180 and is being pioneered around the world. They have also recently developed a new one for about $70.
Currently in Nepal there are two schools pioneering the project. The teacher training programme attached to KISC has been working closely with the scheme in developing Nepali resources for the laptops and helping in the training of the teachers in one of these schools. Nepal is the first country to start developing resources for the laptops based on their own curriculum.
Last Wednesday (4th June) I had the privilege of visiting this school with 2 other BMS workers, David Browell one of the teacher trainers, and Andrew Kohn the other Geography teacher and Secondary Principle at KISC, as well as our Grade 6 class (year 7) who will be my homeroom next year.
The school is on the edge of Kathmandu valley on a ridge with only a very rough road up along cliff edges most of the way. So after a fairly hairy ride up there we went into the school and spent some time playing games to help the two groups of children mix. We had 12 children while they have about 30 in their year 7, and a lot of other children from years 8 and 9 too as they were curious to meet these foreign children.
It is a very poor community with many of the children missing large parts of the school year as they have to help with the planting and at harvest time. Many walk over an hour to get to school, including most of the teachers who walk an hour and a half up the hill after the bus journey to get to the end of the main road.
It was great to see our very privileged children who are from 8 different countries themselves getting alongside the Nepali children and learning from them. I think it was a great opportunity for both groups of children to learn from each other culturally, and a great opportunity for us all to see such an exciting programme taking place and working effectively to improve the education and opportunities of a very poor community under the dedicated hard work of their teachers.