Hello Maximilian (& Michael Vorburger),
As my other half (the German-speaking) co-chairman Urs says from New York,
we are at the moment in a transition phase with the Swiss chapter of OLPC.
I have been working personally towards the recognition of our association
as the Geneva-based representation of the OLPC Foundation at the UN
and in relationship to other NGOs working on children-related issues.
A lot of activity on this topic is happening in Geneva because of the long-
standing tradition of working on children's rights in this city, but it's
taking a lot of time, especially because we rely mostly on passionate
volunteers (such as Michael Vorburger or Stefan Rovetto).
In order to change this situation, a solution would be a financial commitment from
the members of the association, under the form of the yearly cotisation (Beitrag),
even if it is only a small amount. I wonder if current subscribers to this
list would be open to such an idea. I would propose a fee structure making a
distinction between active members, passive members, and supportive members,
for example. I would also like to propose to create a separate mailing list for
just the committee.
Legally speaking, at the moment, the standard procedure to become a member
of our association is to subscribe to the mailing list. However this is not clearly
and explicitly stated in our statutes, only on our web site (olpc.ch
). I apologize for
this ambiguity and this is part of the changes that we are making to our statutes.
By the way, if you read them, you will notice that some parts are in English.
The State of Geneva anyway requires statutes to be in French, in order to
benefit from the many advantages granted to official NGOs.
As we are redrafting our statutes, I would like to underline that any person or
moral entity who is member of our association (and therefore receives this email)
is entitled to make suggestions about what ought to be changed.
My plan is also to create a new document that would be closer to a «Manifesto»,
so that the statutes remain concise and only describe the desired legal operation
of the association (as described under articles 60 and following of the Swiss
Civil Code). Any change to our statutes will need to be approved, according to
the procedure described in the existing statutes available on the web site.
In terms of helping children outside of Switzerland, my plan is to cooperate with
the DEZA/DDC, who have a large operational budget. Through the Department
of Foreign Affairs, our country is already involved in many peace-making and
relief work operations abroad. I think I have seen the flagship green XO laptop
on official visual presentations of the EDA/DFAE. All I can say at the moment is
that I was present at the last annual conference of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid
Units, officially representing our association, and that discussions are in progress.
In terms of being active in Switzerland, certain political personalities such as
the president of ETHZ have talked recently in the media about the need to
teach all children how to contribute to the digital society, not only by learning
how to create media, but also by learning how to program and to think in an
algorithmic way. Many of our members are working in Pädagogische Hoch-
schulen / Haute Ecole Pédagogique which are Teachers Colleges, where we
teach how to teach. The federal structure of our country also means that a
certain independence is left to each canton to interpret federal guidelines in
terms of digital education. The best approach is to try and make a change
at every level, for example by organizing Scratch workshops such as the
one happening in May at EPFL. Being myself in Geneva, I have been in
touch with the International Bureau of Education, and they do have a
certain methodology to help dealing with curricular reforms which is very
helpful, especially when facing status quo and obstruction from the part of
certain individuals. Reluctance to change has to be expected and is usually
the norm. Working at the cantonal or municipal level is also a possibility.
Scratch is available online and runs in the browser. Emulating the Sugar
OS is possible on most computers, but I would encourage using an open
platform such as the Raspberry Pi (I have taught Scratch to children using
this nanocomputer successfully :) ).
I would love to be able to publish a global update on what our public (or
even private) schools are doing in Switzerland in terms of digital education.
Would anyone like to contribute ?
I personally have a meeting in late May with the direction of SEM, who is
the service in the State of Geneva in charge of this question in all public
be able to also report of the digital education policies being applied in
their own canton ?
I personally have regular meetings with Urs over Skype, but the General
Assembly is only once a year in Bern (usually late June / early July).
We usually are present at the Peace Forum held in Lugano once a year
also (usually in November).
I think that anyone doing something interesting with digital technologies and
education, such as teaching ICT to children, should write to this list.
Don't be ashamed !!
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Co-Chairman, One Laptop Per Child (Switzerland)