Bhutan was the first country to install a national public wireless network. The photo set below documents the One Laptop per Child project that aims to revolutionise education and communication. It’s an especially innovative program given Bhutan’s geography encompasses many remote communities. Part of the aim is to bring laptops into the classroom while also to enabling community members to communicate over distance using email.
Bhutan’s Government Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications is undertaking research on how to improve democratic processes using information communication technologies (ICTs). I’m especially looking forward to reading more about their research programs on “smart” health, improving farming services, and cultural preservation through ICTs.
Check out the first Linux website featuring Dzongkha, the official language of Bhutan. Visit the English version, which describes a little about the project and why they chose Linux to build their national community website.
8 thoughts on “Using Technology to Improve Education in Bhutan”
A forward thinking nation! Hope they succeed- their small size may make implementation more effective and easy to watch against corruption and all the other difficulties that stymied such efforts in India.
It’s such a progressive program for such a small nation, I’m excited by the possibilities Rajini Rao I’d be interested to know more about what’s happened in India. Broadband speed was an election issue in Australia in September. The whole thing has become a national joke given the terrible Government proposals. Not sure if you’ve been to Oz or know much about us, but most people live in cities along the coast and internet prices are very expensive. Internet access is an especially troubling issue for Australians living in rural and remote areas.
In 2010 India announced a plan to produce solar powered $35 laptops for every child (http://phys.org/news199083092.html). A year later, there was still scepticism. I’ve not heard since and assume it fell by the wayside.
I found this on the One Laptop per Child effort in Peru: http://goo.gl/utVDv
Great links Rajini Rao Love the idea of the solar powered laptop – such a shame they’ve not gone through with the project. I’m dismayed but not surprised about Peru.The latest OECD international survey on education ranked Peru at the very bottom of all OECD nations! Peruvian children are six years behind other nations in terms of their learning, especially in maths, science and literacy. The point in that One Laptop Per Child article about training teachers on how to teach the technology made me think of a recent Forbes article. It argued that kids who use computers aren’t necessarily smarter with tech (http://goo.gl/gWAu6H). As with everything, tools are only useful with good education.
There was another effort to bring technology & education to every house in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India but sadly that turned out to be just an election gimmick. The laptops that were freely distributed were only used to watch movies or as replacements for a television set. Without internet being available in the state, the laptops have become a novelty than anything else. Such haphazard measures always amount to the public losing hope in governance and undermines the potential that technology has to bring a positive change in education. Let’s hope Bhutan sets an example that neighbouring “superpowers” can follow..
P.S – Uttar Pradesh also happens to be one of the most corrupt states in India.
I thought Australians, like most western countries, had excellent network connectivity which was also cheap & easily available. Internet, in most Indian states, is only now coming up to 3G!! LTE is still unheard of 😀
Ahmed Faraaz Patel Thanks for the information on Uttar Pradesh. Election gimmicks on technology seem to be an issue! You’re right: Australia has excellent network connectivity relative to developing nations. It’s not as good as it should be given that we have the technology and means to improve our network. Like I noted, coverage in our rural and remote areas is negligent, which is a big problem given our landscape.
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