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OLPC learning center opens in Kigali; Kagame presides over ceremony

This summer, OLPC is starting two projects in Africa.  One is OLPCorps, which we have covered over the past few months and which you will be hearing a great about from the participants themselves.  The other is the founding of a learning center that has just been founded at the Kigali Institute for Science, Technology and Management [KIST].  As part of this process, the OLPC learning team, including David Cavallo and Juliano Bittencourt, have been in Kigali for some time, laying the groundwork for this week's public launch.  President Kagame himself came to open the center -- here is the official press announcement:

LAUNCHED IN RWANDA BY HIS EXCELLENCY PAUL KAGAME, THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF RWANDA

OLPCorps Teams to Assist in Providing New Educational Opportunities in 17 Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa

Kigali, Rwanda, June 9, 2009 -- One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help provide every child in the world with access to a modern education, in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda, is launching in Kigali, Rwanda, a Global Center for Excellence in Laptops and Learning. The purpose of the Center is to create the highest quality examples of learning with connected laptops in schools and communities, support ongoing laptop implementation plans in Rwanda, and create an African regional laptop network.

Leading the world in exemplifying laptops for learning, Rwanda is the natural base for this new center. The government of Rwanda has committed to providing all 2.2 million of its primary school children with laptops by 2012 and to serving as a model for other countries to copy, improve and further innovate. The Center also will develop senior fellows, community learning specialists and technology specialists who will return to their countries to lead efforts nationally, regionally and locally to extend laptop learning programs.

OLPC has experienced great success when support for our mission comes from both the government (top down) as well as from grassroots (bottom up),” said Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of One Laptop per Child. “The partnership with Rwanda represents a substantial commitment by both OLPC and Rwanda to bring learning to the grassroots and country level, which is exactly where it should be.”

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How classroom XOs can help Rwanda's economy

Rwanda aims to complete deployment of their next 100,000 children by next summer. National project coordinator Nkubito Bakuramutsa was interviewed this week for an article in the Irish Times. They discuss recent successes and policies at the Rwandan schools that have deployed the first batch of XOs in the country. Kagame and the teachers involved are both optimistic that they will transform their society into a leader in technology advances.Read the rest of this entry

Rwanda's broadband is 3rd fastest in Africa

A recent report ranks Rwanda's broadband connectivity speeds third on the continent, ahead of its neighbors in East Africa.  This seems to be changing rapidly; I recall that just over a year ago, when we hosted the OLPCorps summit in Kigali, it was difficult for attendees to find hotspots to upload videos of any length. Rwanda keeps on surprising its neighbors.  It intends to be an ICT hub for the region, and is moving in that direction full speed.  Kudos to Kagame and his young crew for making that dream real, year byRead the rest of this entry