Just when everything seemed to be going great guns, especially with the Merces school including the XO class in their academic timetable for 3rd & 4th grade and other schools showing interest in starting the Sugar-OLPC program, we find ourselves faced with issues that make it difficult to catapult to the next level, in fact to even stay where we are today. What issues?
- The absolute confusion that currently exists in the education system in Goa where many government aided schools, including Our Lady of Merces, have opted for English as the medium of instruction at the primary level and the politicization of this issue by language activists and political parties. Learning has taken a back seat to politics and the only victims are children who have no voice in the matter. In the cacophony of political rhetoric the XO class is but collateral damage! Click here to read Frederick Noronha’s article about the very complex language controversy.
- While the XOs came as a generous donation by Nicholas Negroponte, the money for the training programs and workshops came from the Digital Bridge Foundation. Sadly they have not made any further commitment to the OLPC project at Goa due to what appears to be changed priorities of the parent organisation.
- There is a great deal of interest from other schools in Goa who have seen the benefits of the project as demonstrated clearly by the pilot Sugar-OLPC project at the Merces School. But once again the question remains financial viability in the absence of funding. Will they be able to raise the funds to buy the XOs? Who will fund the teacher training and initial hand-holding that every new program like this needs?
Until we can find funding or a self sustaining alternative it seems like an uphill battle for us to support the existing programs and kick-start new initiatives, we are doing the best we can to ensure that at least a downward slide is prevented. But can we really afford to stay in this state of limbo for much longer? I guess only time can answer that.