Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the One Laptop per Child program?

It is an initiative that has the goal of providing every school-age child with individual computational technology. The program identifies itself with the 1:1 model. This model allows for the possibility of a unique process of teaching and learning.

The learning space is a technological platform that allows the child to develop his or her creativity and construct his or her own learning. “Learning to Learn” is the revolutionary change factor in the students’ cognitive and creative process. The child has in his or her hands, as the owner of their personal laptop, a digital learning platform that allows him or her to become more informed, communicate with others, and, above all, freely build knowledge.

2. What are the philosophical principles of UCPN?

OLPC is founded on philosophical principles that must be followed during the execution of the program for the correct implementation of the proposed model. These principles are:

  1. Early Childhood: the earlier the child is exposed to the initiative, the faster he or she will acquire the skills to achieve digital fluency.
  2. Ownership: the child owns the laptop computer. Learning is not limited to formal education settings, nor does it stop upon leaving the classroom. The child is able to continuing to learn in other spaces, both at home and on personal projects outside the school. This also allows the family to have indirect access to the laptop and thereby to the digital platform.
  3. Saturation: the worldwide OLPC experience shows that communities take ownership of the program when all community members participate in the project. That is to say, in a given district, as is the case in Caacupé, the program involves all school children and not only certain groups. In this way, cooperative learning is emphasized, as well as a sense of equity in access since all are provided with the same opportunities.
  4. Connectivity: through the Internet, the children have access to a world of information and the school becomes the hub of innovation in the community well beyond class hours. Children and their families benefit from the creation and publication of knowledge.
  5. Free software: information and knowledge must be universally accessible and therefore OLPC adheres to the global Open Source Code movement. Free open source software is used so that each child can create his or her own learning space and access a universe of data that will allow him or her to create and/or modify programming tools.
3. Why is the program only in Caacupé and not in other districts where there is more of a need?

As a non-governmental organization, the program cannot be expanded due to financial reasons. The original idea was to introduce the model as a pilot program in order for the government to evaluate and assess the possibilities of implementing it nationwide.

4. How many people have benefited from the program since its implementation?

The program has benefited 13,201 school-age children and 365 teachers. It also benefits families and other members of the community.

The Centro Tecnológico Serranía (CTS) has had more than 3,000 participants since it opened in February 2014.

5. In what ways?

Teacher training in how to incorporate and use ICT in the classroom curriculum, support for teachers in how to develop classroom materials using technology in the schools, courses offered at the CTS, participation in national and international contests.

Paraguay Educa’s education team in Caacupé consists of professionals trained specifically to support the use of ICT in the classroom and to organize different types of activities to promote the process of digital inclusion in educational institutions in Caacupé and in non-formal setting through community development.

6. Why do we insist on the use of free and open-source software?

Children should be creators of their own learning environment, and through this process learning is achieved. We understand “learning environment” to be the virtual space where the child creates, changes and improves his or her work. If the software was closed, the child would have no choice but to respond to the orders given by the system and mechanically follow steps; they would be unable to think and create or modify an idea.

7. Why should the buying of computers be prioritized over improving building conditions and ensuring that schools provide food?

One of the requirements for schools that benefit from the OLPC program is that their infrastructure is suitable for the implementation of the program. This includes roofs, electricity, furniture, and bathrooms.

In relation to school meals, we do not directly address that issue. It is the responsibility of the government to respond to that need.

8. What is the role of teachers in the program??

The role of the teacher changed from being a supplier of knowledge to becoming a facilitator is the process of knowledge acquisition.

The incorporation of technology in all areas of education, the changes in the curriculum and the teaching methodology are challenges that become indispensable in the continuous training of teachers.

9. In what ways does the government support the program?

In recent years, the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) has taken important steps towards the sustainability of the OLPC program. In December 2014, a bidding process was held by the MEC with funding for the acquisition of more than 3,500 new laptop computers for the program. In 2013 and 2014 laptops were not distributed due to lack of resources. With this acquisition, the program was once again inserted into the community, saturating all the schools in Caacupé.

In addition, the sustainability of the OLPC program in Caacupé for the 2016-2019 period is part of the Ministry’s project entitled Improvement of Learning Conditions with the Incorporation of ICT in Educational Institutions in Paraguay. This project will be financed by the Fund for Excellence in Education and Research, which was approved in August 2015.

10. Why do opponents of the project insist that the pedagogical model does not help increase the academic levels of children in math and literacy?

The introduction of ICT in education has generated various changes and most projects implemented worldwide are still being evaluated with traditional tools for measuring learning that are not apt or appropriate for measuring the impact of these types of models. We want children to learn to think, reflect, and have the ability to make the right choices and know where to find the information they need to build their own learning. On the other hand, there are studies that show positive results that prove that this type of educational model promotes the development of critical thinking.

The great challenge is to improve the tools and change the indicators in order to adequately measure the scope, results and impact of such initiatives.

11. What additional results were achieved with the implementation of the program?

The entire community has benefited in one way or another. Caacupé saw the necessity of providing Internet connection in public spaces by having a community where most households have a computer. Moreover, since Caacupé is a digitalized city, other projects have the opportunity to work with a group of people who are connected.

Equality of opportunities for all children is crucial. In addition to the program benefiting children, parents and other members of the community are able to participate in courses in areas such as financial literacy and entrepreneurship, among many others, offered at the Centro Tecnológico Serranía.