STEPANAKERT—The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic will provide one laptop per child as part of a new private-public effort to promote education in information technology.
As part of a deal signed Thursday between Karabakh Prime Minister Ara Harutyunyan and Argentinian Armenian businessman Eduardo Eurnekian, every elementary school student in Karabakh will receive one laptop computer loaded with educational software.
The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program, developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston (MIT), will furnish Karabakh’s elementary schools with laptop computers and connect them to the Internet through wireless networks to be installed in their facilities.
Karabakh’s government welcomed the initiative, spearheaded by Eurnekian, and pledged to make telecommunications interconnection available in all schools to enhance the educational impact of the OLPC program.
To realize the project, Eurnekian asked the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) to assist in the implementation by undertaking the responsibility of providing the necessary on-the-ground support to ensure its success.
“The world community sees Nagorno Karabagh within the context of war and regional conflict. People fail to take note of the children who are born and live there,” said Eurnekian, whos company manages Armenia’s national postal service, Haypost, and the Zvartnots airport in Yerevan. “These children are entitled to the universal right of education and access to information.”
“Through OLPC, I intend to bridge the gap and give the children of Karabakh the opportunity to receive the best education the world has to offer” Eurnekian said.
“The education of [Karabakh’s] school age children is a priority for the Government and a significant part of the State’s resources is directed towards building and renovating schools,” Prime Minister Harutyunyan said.
“The people of NKR thank Mr. Eurnekian for introducing and financing a powerful educational tool to the school system” he added. “This is a capital investment in our future and its positive impact will be enjoyed in the decades to come” Mr. Harutyunyan continued.
Before signing the agreement, Eurnekian emphasized that it “is the obligation of the world community to make sure that all children in the world have access to education and information.”
He emphasized that “Armenians around the world, individually or through organizations, must contribute to the cause of educating the future generations of the nation,” he added. “Today, I intend to plant the seeds of an international effort to integrate the children of Karabakh in the world community. They deserve receiving proper education and access to the world of information.”
At the conclusion of his meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr. Eurnekian agreed to support several other development programs in Karabakh, including the provision of financing to small farms, making modern agricultural equipment available to farming enterprises, helping develop bioenergy resources and enhancing the meat and dairy production in the territory.
“I am certain, that today, we laid the foundation for a long term cooperation between Mr. Eurnekian and the Government of Karabakh, which will evolve over time to incorporate our compatriots in the Diaspora and Armenia in the effort to provide a dignified life to the citizens of NKR, young and old,” Harutyunyan said.
Eurnekian, for his part, said he believed the “children of Karabakh deserve what I am trying to extend to them.”
He also thanked the AGBU for accepting the invitation to join the project. “I hope that together, we will be able to achieve success in NKR and expand the project to Armenia with the support of the organization’s global network,” Eurnekian added.