Selected publications (.pdf)

"Education Change, Leadership and the Knowledge Society" 
Global e-Schools Initiative (GeSCI)  

Survey of ICT in education in the Caribbean
Volume 1: Regional trends & analysis
Volume 2: Country reports

Using technology to train teachers:
Appropriate uses of ICT for
teacher professional developmen
infoDev (Mary Burns, co-author)

Project evaluation:
Uganda rural school-based telecenters

World Bank Institute
(Sara Nadel, co-author)

The Educational Object Economy:
Alternatives in authoring &
aggregation of educational software 

Interactive Learning Environments
(Purchase or subscription req'd) 

Development of multimedia resources 
UNESCO (Cesar Nunes, co-author)

Real Access/Real Impact
Teresa Peters &
(hosted for reference; RIP TMP) 


Learning, technology & development


Entries in Rwanda (2)


OLPC Rwanda is falling short of goals, but who's looking?

Via the amazingly energetic Wayan Vota at OLPC News we learn that Mineduc (the Ministry of Education) of Rwanda) is able to provide only 8,000 of its target delivery of 250,000 OLPC laptops (Childrens XO machines) per year. The reason? 

"It looks like the programme is not having enough financing that can lead to its realisation like the EDPRS had projected," [Mineduc OLPC coordinator] Niyonkuru said.

(EDPRS is the Economic Development Poverty Reduction Strategy.) 

In 2006, Jon Camfield (probably equal in energy to Wayan, altho I don't know for sure) pegged Total Cost of Ownership of an XO laptop in a school environment as US ~$1,000 over five years. (I think, but am not sure, that this does not include replacement of the machine at the end of its five-year service life.) However Mr Camfield's initial estimate is very heavy on 5-year Internet connectivity ($541) with much lower costs for amortized training ($128). He also includes a one-time set-up fee of $108 per laptop, which seems completely reasonable.

These projections might be generic (cost of Internet connectivity in East Africa will presumably fall over the next 5 years), but they are at least responsibly made. The question, then, is:

Why are the smart, committed, and experienced Rwandese failing to accurately budget for and finance this high-profile laptop deployment? 

There are of course a thousand suspects, although failure as we know obscures patrimony.

One strong possibility is "ministry overreach." The OLPC initiative is split between the President's office, the newly created Ministry of Science & Technology (MOST) and the Ministry of Education.

The government of Rwanda has established itself precisely as a visionary among African governments in relation to the uses of technology for development. However in several instances--ranging from the Terracom fiasco to early projects involving laptops in primary schools and computer labs in secondary schools--implementation has not come close to matching plans.

It's very likely that the more powerful MOST has provided the MOE with a laundry list of "unfunded requirements" in relation to OLPC deployment. (You'll observe that the quote regarding financing is from a person in the Mineduc staff, not at MOST.)

But it's important to observe in all of this that the $20 million spent on laptops and however much is budgeted for deployment results from strong donor support for education in Rwanda. (DFID provides the bulk of support for education in Rwanda, but other sponsors include AfDB and WB.)  $20 million in hardware procurement over 5 years ain't chump change in a total annual education budget of about US $100 million. So why aren't donor agencies more visibly excited about this? 

Could it be because Rwanda is more or less on track to reach its Millennium Development Goal targets, including its targets in education? Does that buy MOST and Mineduc the opportunity to make a $20 million boo-boo?

Perhaps this is a job for AidWatch? (Wm Easterly never mentions OLPC. Of course he rarely discusses education in relation to development.) 


Generators donated to schools in Rwanda. And fuel?

From  Rwandan daily, The New Times (by way of

Kigali — MTN Rwanda, Wednesday, donated 50 second-hand generators worth US$500,000 (Approx Rwf 280m) to the ministries of Education (MINEDUC) and Health (MINISANTE).... Speaking at the ceremony, State Minister for Education Theoneste Mutsindashyaka, acknowledged the development and urged MTN to keep up the spirit.

"Many schools lack electric power and with the newly introduced ICT education on the curriculum, the generators will definitely have an impact," Mutsindashyaka said.

Twenty head teachers from some of the remotest schools attended the ceremony and their schools will be among the beneficiaries.


OK, a used generator worth $10K is going to have high output, 80KW, for example... and high consumption of diesel. Even if the value of these machines is overstated, they are coming from one of the largest private-sector consumers of power in Rwanda. They are way bigger than schools need.

(For purposes of comparison, telecenters in Indonesia frequently run generators in the 10-13 KW range.) 

Electricity in Rwanda is a problem that cripples computer and Internet use in schools. When I last visited, head teachers reported that they were shutting down or radically limiting use of their school computers labs--not because they didn't have generators (most of the schools that i visited had 5.0 KWh versions), but because they couldn't afford the fuel to run them. 

This was in 2005. Perhaps the situation has changed. But for me to believe that the MTN donation to "definitely have impact," I'll need to hear  that MINEDUC will definitely pay the costs of fuel.