Your question is in essence on of combating the ?Digital Divide,? but
on the international level rather than the one most commonly referred
to in the US (which is the digital disparity between the poor and
middle class, and the young and aged here in the US).
I did a lot of research on this throughout my tenure as an undergrad.
Thanks for asking such a cool question!
I thought that a good place to start this research would be to do a
bit of background checking on the educational system currently in
place in Peru, including their attitudes toward education, which would
obviously make a difference in the kind of system that you set up.
I am a teacher at a charter school, which is why your question first
sparked my interest. Also because I have had the inkling to carry out
a similar plan as yours. I want to stretch my teaching farther than
the inner city schools in America?I want to bring it abroad!
American children are so desperately in need of having their horizons
expanded?it has almost made me quit my profession due to frustration.
They have no idea what is beyond their own neighborhood, and there is
only so much that you can reveal about Truth in a classroom?
I really don?t feel like I need to defend that point to you (as in,
it's too captain obvious), so I am going to focus on the possible
responses that you would have from the Peruvian side.
On to the answer:
My first search strategy was to, like I said, find out some basic
information on what Peru?s education system has to offer.
In Google, I typed in: peru education system
Here are the results:
Within this search, I immediately found the most interesting article
from allrefer.com (they are a great, unbiased info site).
Here is a link to the page:
Here are some excerpts that I found pertinent.
?It is no exaggeration to say that the presence of a village school
and teacher is considered by the poor as the most important first step
on the road to "progress" out of poverty and a state of disrespect, if
not for themselves, for their children.?
?In the early 1960s, Peru was a nation where almost 39 percent of the
population spoke native languages, half being bilingual in Spanish and
half monolingual in a native tongue. By 1981 only 9 percent were
monolingual, and 18 percent remained bilingual. In 1990 over 72
percent claimed to speak only Spanish, whereas in 1961, about 60
**The language barrier would not be as much of a problem as I first
thought, if these stats are accurate!
?In the Sierra, where villages and communities are famous for their
voluntary work, the majority of self-financed public community
projects have been dedicated to the construction and maintenance of
their escuelitas (little schools) with little assistance except from
their migrant clubs and associations in Lima or other large cities.?
**Yet another helping factor. Your plans would perhaps not seem all
that foreign to a culture that is already familiar with the
utilization of voluntary projects aimed at the bettering of their
You should skim through the rest of that article, but it pretty much
just reinforces the idea that education is huge in Peru.
Crucial to read through in its entirety to get the most thorough ?gist.?
A paper drawn up by Peru?s Ministry of Education for UNESCO?s
International Bureau of Education:
This also provides some good info on the desire and need for
improvement, but says not much about the technology link possibility.
Now, to delve more into the possibility of creating a technology link
between the US and Peru:
Search strategy in Google:
Peru education technology
If your familiar with Michael Moore, the infamous (but brilliant)
documentarian and filmmaker, you would have expected it of him, but it
seems as though Moore is involved in a similar project as the one that
you currently have in the works, but more in terms of laying the
groundwork that you would need:
It?s called the Second Peruvian Education Quality Improvement Project,
and involved Peru?s Ministry of Education, The World Bank
?The project as presently conceived includes two major technological
components -- the use of distance education in rural areas, and the
use of computers in schools. ?
Here is a link to their website that explains what they do:
And an excerpt:
"Knight-Moore applies advanced information and communication
technologies (telematics) to solve educational and training problems
at national, regional, state and institutional levels. Services are
offered worldwide, with a focus on developing and transitional
And here is reference to the specific programs in place:
?The computers in schools component involves the use of stand-alone
computers in primary schools, with an existing pilot program involving
the Lego-Logo system (InfoEscuela). For secondary schools, networked
computers linked to the Internet and involving collaborative projects,
within the schools, and between schools at both the national and
international levels are planned. There is an existing pilot program
for secondary school program, EduRed, which also includes a number of
schools participating in the World Links for Development and GLOBE
World Links for Development: On the same track as you:
?is a global learning network linking thousands of students and
teachers around the world via the Internet for collaborative projects
and integration of technology into learning. The core "value-added" of
World Links is its training program, designed to help teachers and
students learn to use information and communication technologies
(particularly the Internet) to improve teaching and learning.?
Here is a full report on them:
-Make sure you read this site in it?s entirety. It explains EXACTLY
what they do: I?m sure you?d be pleased to find out that the system
is already in place. You could then apply your ?community service?
aspect and improve on what is already in place!
?World Links began in mid-1997 as an initiative of Mr. James D.
Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, to help bring the developing
world into the information age through its future leaders ? students ?
and to build cultural awareness among them in the face of an ever more
global economy and society. Since then, the program has expanded to
over 20 developing countries (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El
Salvador, Paraguay, Peru, Botswana, Burkina Faso, the Gambia, Senegal,
Ghana, Mauritania, Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Turkey,
West Bank/Gaza, India, the Philippines). Currently, approximately
200,000 students and teachers in these countries are collaborating
over the Internet with partners in 22 industrialized countries on
projects in all disciplines.
Today, World Links is recognized as is one of the most innovative and
successful education programs assisting developing countries in
bridging the "digital divide". World Links was recently voted by the
World Economic Forum's membership as the #1 educational program
bridging the global digital divide, out of 75 programs evaluated.?
A credit to the success of this program:
?An estimated ninety-eight percent of all World Links schools
connected during the past four years remain up and running.?
And?.specifically for Peru:
Peru is one of the original four World Links pilot countries in Latin
America. The Program is being developed within the context of the
Ministry of Education's general strategy on educational technology
and, in particular, within the context of the EDURED Project. For the
initial phase of the project, 10 schools were selected, located in
diverse regions of the country -- Lima, Arequipa, Chincha, Trujillo,
Maynas, San Martin and Tacna. The World Links program in Peru would
like to thank the following organizations for their support: Ministry
of Education, EduRed, Microsoft Péru, Telefónica Péru, La Universidad
Agraria La Molina
Okay?..now, what YOU can do!
I?m going to go ahead and list most of the information that world
links has on their website, because this seems to be the most stable
project, and most receptive to outside help:
Contact information (http://www.world-links.org/english/html/contacts.html):
1211 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036 USA
tel. (+01) 202-462-9234
fax (+01) 202-462-9736
Here is what they say about becoming a sponsor
?Education is a cornerstone of success and access to economic freedom.
In many countries only a fraction of the children have a chance of
advancing to high school.
Once there these students often lack the essentials of an education
system ? paper, pencils, books and teachers.
In a world with such limits, computers and the Internet bridge an enormous divide.
Computers bring the riches of the world's greatest minds into a remote
village. They give a young mind tools for exploration and learning.
They provide a link to peers in other countries, opening a window to
In three years, World Links has built computer labs and brought
Internet connectivity to more than 100,000 kids in 450 schools in 15
countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Teachers learn how to integrate the use of technology to enhance their
Students become impassioned about learning again.?
So, yes, a lot of attention is already being paid to this possibility,
and there are several projects in the works that have the backing of
international organizations such as UNESCO, The World Bank, as well as
people like Michael Moore and Peter Knight!
It seems as though every program that is currently in place would be
totally willing to work with whoever is willing.
I think that your next steps should be
1) Contact World Links, and tell them about your idea.
2) Ask them what you should do next to start getting the ball rolling in the States
3) Begin contacting schools around you that you know already have the
technology in place to do something like this with you. Believe
me....teachers and administrators are ALWAYS looking for new and
promising ways to improve our own system.
4) If you want the opinions of teachers at a charter school polled,
please let me know, and I can arrange for that to happen, and then I
can publish the results of such as a clarification....or you could ask
another question, and address it to me, if you want.
Please let me know if there is anythign else that I can do!
I learned a lot in this process. That's why I love this job! Thank you!