Peru holds a special place in the progress of the OLPC Foundation, being one of the first countries to pilot the prototype XO and subsequently commit to a nationwide program to put a rugged, low-cost connected laptop into the hands of every young child in the impoverished, developing country.
Encouraged by the success of Uruguay and with a deep experience in the constructionist approach to basic education, Peru began its OLPC adventure in June 2007 in a small remote rural village in the Andes mountains called Arahuay. XO laptops were given to the town's 46 primary school students. So dramatic was the impact that in December the same year, the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the PerúEduca team began rolling out the first tranche of 40,000 laptops to children in remote and rural one-classroom schools.
Today, Peru has more than 300,000 XOs deployed in more than four thousand schools and is currently the world’s largest OLPC deployment. It has some 2.7million children in the OLPC target range of 6-12 years.
"Our decision to work with One Laptop per Child was a relatively easy one," said Oscar Becerra, General Director for Educational Technology at the MOE. "We have been applying the constructionist learning theory for more than 20 years in Peru, and the XO laptop is the perfect tool for children to learn by doing, sharing and expressing themselves. The low cost of the laptop as well as its unique features – the display readable in direct sunlight, the mesh network and the overall ruggedness of the machine – make it a great fit for the remote and rural villages of our country."
Nicholas Negroponte noted that "Peru’s understanding of constructionist learning theories is so mature and longstanding that other countries can benefit from this important decision. While we immediately see the difference the laptop makes in the lives of these children, we look forward to the long-term positive impact it will have on the eradication of poverty and on societies' other great challenges."
UNICEF notes that of Peru's population of 28 million, there are 3.8 million people living in extreme poverty – including 2.1 million children. Many of these children live in remote and rural areas in the mountains and attend schools with very few resources for a modern education.
Seeking to address the educational inequity suffered in rural areas, Peru's MOE targeted its first XO deployments to areas suffering the highest poverty and highest rates of illiteracy and social exclusion, and the lowest rates of population concentration in school.
- The MOE’s stated objectives for the OLPC program include:
- 1) Improving the quality of public primary education, especially that of children of the remotest places of extreme povert;
- 2) Developing skills in curriculum design considered by students of primary level education through pedagogical application of XO laptops;
- 3) Train and provide continuous updating of teachers in pedagogical use of the XO laptop. (The MOE has trained some 115,000 teachers in using the XO.)
An early evaluation of progress in Peru released in May 2009 showed a 50% improvement in reading comprehension among students and of almost 60% for textual and mathematical analysis. The study also noted the texts produced by children and teachers demonstrate more creativity and improvement in writing and spelling.
In 2009, Peru shared the UNESCO Prize for the Use of Information Technologies and Communication in Education for its One Laptop Per Child program. The two winning projects were chosen from a total of 67 projects submitted by 47 states.
Peru guarantees the right to free education and school is compulsory from years 6 to 18. In 2006, at least 96% of school age children were attending school.
Children in Peru suffer high rates of malnutrition during the early years of life are at risk of developmental delays that impede later learning, with 30% of all children under five suffering from severe or moderate stunting, well above the average for Latin America of 16% (UNESCO 2010).
- Peru at a glance
- Official Language: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
- Area: 1.3mil km2 (140 mi2)
- Population (Jul. 2009): 28.8mil
- Density: 22.5/km2
- GDP (per capita 2008): $6,400
- Life expectancy: 70.7 years
- Literacy: 87.7%
- Compulsory School Years: 6-18
- School age population: 3.4mil
- Number in Primary School: 96%