Laptop project extended to six districts

MADHYAPUR THIMI: After successfully testing laptops among schoolchildren in two districts, Department of Education has implemented 'One Laptop Per Child' programme as a pilot project in six districts from this academic session.

The programme will be implemented throughout the country if the laptops proved effective in learning and teaching process during the pilot project period, according to the DoE.

The programme was launched last year in three schools in Kavre and Lalitpur in association with the Open Learning Exchange (OLE) programme to gauge the functioning of laptops in Nepali environment.

According to Baburam Poudel, deputy director, DoE, the government launched the programme in more districts after the initial phase showed that use of laptop was yielding positive results. The pilot project has been implemented in Kavre, Lalitpur, Mustang, Makwanpur, Dadeldhura and Kapilvastu from this academic season, Poudel said. "Last year, we tested the laptop and its technological difficulties, teachers' training, curriculum development and other technicalities to launch the programme in other districts," he added.

The DoE is solely looking after Mustang and Makwanpur districts, while the World Food Programme is executing the programme in Dadeldhura. The DoE and OLE will jointly execute the programme in three other districts.

Poudel said the DoE was planning to provide around 4,000 laptops to the students in Grades II, III and VI. He said government bodies like National Centre for Educational Development and Curriculum Development Centre were technically supporting the project.

"We will conduct a baseline survey on 70 schools running with laptops and 27 schools running without laptops to ascertain whether or not the modern teaching methods are appropriate for students," he added.

Because of the success of the programme in the first phase, students are now rushing to the schools that provide laptops. A teacher at Mahendra Gram Lower Secondary School in Lubhu-8 in Lalitpur said the number of students in the schools had declined in this academic session after the students moved to other schools in the vicinity that provided laptops last year. "We have only 20 students in this academic session," he added.

Poudel, however, said new students would not be admitted to the schools where the project was being launched.