In order to tackle the lack of locally relevant content and improve the quality of education in rural areas of Peru, the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD
) has designed an integrated solution that turns largely unused laptops into digital offline libraries.
Student reading performance in Peru ranked last in the 2012 OECD PISA test, and rural education suffers considerably from a lack of culturally and linguistically contextualized learning materials and expertise. These digital offline libraries contain user-generated content in local languages and reflect the culture of Peru’s indigenous communities.
For the last 17 years, IICD has been using existing ICT in innovative ways to solve day-to-day problems faced by local communities. Although nearly five million Peruvians speak Quechua, Peru’s national curriculum is still mostly in Spanish. Spanish-speaking Peruvians are seven times more likely to achieve satisfactory scores on literacy and numeracy tests than Quechua speakers. The situation is much worse in disconnected rural schools. Peru’s most remote areas in the Andes suffer from poor infrastructure, a serious shortage of qualified teachers, lack of Internet connectivity and lack of relevant educational material.
As part of an effort to improve Peruvian education in general, the One Laptop per Child programme (OLPC) has already provided eight hundred thousand XO laptops for educational use, but due to lack of training and Internet connectivity, these laptops have gone largely unused. With suited pedagogical approaches and access to the right kinds of learning materials and expertise, these computers can be powerful tools for education. They offer students access to stimulating materials, like videos in their own language, and allow teachers to offer and create culturally relevant content and examples. The availability of educational material contextualized to indigenous cultures and traditional knowledge not only increases the development of students’ literacy skills, but also aids in the preservation of local identities.