XO Security Activated in Rwanda, July 1, 2011

In an effort to ensure that laptops provided to students in schools are not stolen, the Rwandan Ministry of Education, with the assistance of OLPC, has enabled a security feature forcing all laptops that are not in schools to shut down. Currently, 124 schools and a little over 61,000 children are enjoying the usage of XO laptops across the country. More schools are being targeted as the government has now received an additional 35,000 laptops, 32,000 of which, are of the latest version the XO Revision 1.5. This should allow an additional 70 schools to participate in the program. This will effectively place Rwanda as the XO largest deployment outside of South America.

The security feature was added to the laptops during a re-flash process where all 65,000 laptops were updated with the latest software and additional educational activities to ensure that the laptops are used in an educationally suitable manner. According to Nkubito Bakuramutsa, the National OLPC Coordinator, moving forward, the project is also rethinking its approach to private schools, so that those who have purchased laptops will be enabled with digital content from primary 4 to primary 6 on SD cards.
The security feature has triggered a current exercise of visiting schools; checking on the count of laptops; recapturing serial numbers as well as repairing the failing ones, according to Patrick Mugabo, the officer in charge of logistics at the Ministry. Any laptops which will not be enabled by the OLPC engineers will remain in a failing state until they are brought back to the schools or to the Ministry.
The activation process of laptops, which began last week in the southern province, will continue until the entire country is covered. While today, this process is being done manually, servers being installed at schools will take over and automate this process by the end of the year.
With the OLPC project, primary students in Rwanda are being exposed not only to technology in the classroom but also to a new way of learning by doing. Already over 1000 teachers have received a first phase of workshops to introduce methods of integrating these laptops into their lessons. The Ministry of Education is committed to enhance the quality of education through the integration of technology as one of the strategy of meeting its National Kivu retreat goals.
To get a sense of the change this project is bringing in schools, the community is invited to join the national OLPC SCRATCH DAY, which will take place in September 2011.

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  1. I got a link to your blog sent to me by some developers from one Laptop per Child. I am a PC Volunteer with the United States. I live in the Rulindo District of Rwanda. Our students computers (~300-400) no longer are able to operate because of an activation lease problem. I am attaching an email that I wrote regarding the issue:
    > I have spoken to some other PC volunteers in my area of Rwanda and
    > they are similar issues. I used the wiki site to research possible
    > known fixes. I ran a diagnositc test (by holding the rocker toggle in
    > the up position) and it came back saying that:
    >
    > Trying nand :\boot\boot\fw.zip
    > FW found – – new No signature for our key list
    > Trying nand :\security,\lease.sig
    > Trying nand :\security\lease.sig
    > Lease expired
    > Trying nand :\boot\actos.zip
    > OS found – Signature valid
    > Trying nand :\boot\actrd.zip
    > RD found – Signature valid
    >
    > It sounds to me like this is a very serious and wide spread problem in
    > Rwanda from what I have heard from 3 seperate volunteers that their
    > computers at their rural schools are having similar problems. The
    > model of the computer I am currently testing is Model: XO-1. Please
    > continue to copy me and try to find a solution.
    >
    > Thanks,
    >
    > Andrew Kinton
    > Kinihira, Rwanda

    If you are able to help in any way or have any information, please contact me on email thehtizzle@gmail.com.

  2. I would like to get in contact with you to visit one of the projects. I have just entered Rwanda and have funded 5000 XO laptops for Africa. I would like to come see your success so far if possible. Please email me: tamin@everythingexceptthehorn.com or Rwanda number: +250784816813. Thanks

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