About the OLPC ‘thing’

A recent mail to a list I read had the following:

One of my colleagues had the following to say about OLPC in Nepal:

“Nepal has had perhaps one of the most active grassroots OLPC community, that became active in the fall of 2006. The OLPC Nepal movement has needed to develop its deployment plans, school server architecture, and strategies of interfacing with government. The most active members of the OLPC community within Nepal formed a local non-profit organization in July 2007, OLE Nepal, to implement Nepal’s initial OLPC deployments. All of these became the exemplars for later deployments ..”

What has prevented the development of such a movement in India? Bangladesh? Srilanka? Pakistan? Bhutan?

The fun part about this is that there is no single silver bullet response. A primary issue with the effort around OLPC in India has been the lack of investment in building up a community around the project. While there has been breakthroughs around the deployment and proof-of-concept runs, there hasn’t been a single sustained thrust in ensuring that there is a buy-in with a larger group of people who contribute. Which means that while there are significant areas where OLPC could do with community love, there hasn’t been any plans made in public on them.

A much secondary issue is the lack of clarity about who is OLPC in India. For a certain period of time, any OLPC related issue was discussed with the team handling the Khairat pilot. Moving on, there exists a lack of structured information about how the organization plans to work – what the plans moving forward are and how it plans to attract volunteers to the cause. Scaling up the deployments and notching up the numbers is a measure of success. Another yardstick is how much of interest has been developed with newer contributors.


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