World Bank Approves Funding for Integration of the International Children's Digital Library Content in Rural Mongolian Schools

International Children’s Digital Library, One Laptop Per Child Foundation Among Recipients of $1 Million Dollar Grant

For immediate release


MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, MA - July 1, 2008 -The International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) (www.childrenslibrary.org), the world's largest collection of children's literature available freely on the Internet, today announced that it is included among the recipients of a World Bank grant of US$ 1 million for additional financing under the Rural Education and Development Project (READ) initiative in Mongolia. These funds will be provided to the International Children’s Digital Library Foundation and the One Laptop Per Child Foundation (OLPC) to enable an optimized partnership between the two organizations as they implement programs in Mongolia aimed at providing technology throughout the country’s educational infrastructure.

Specifications of the grant include the following:

  • The provision of Mongolia-specific educational content on the XO laptop computers through an improved and adapted version of the International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL).
  • The training of teachers and students in the successful use of the XO laptop computers to improve students’ learning.
  • The design of an effective monitoring and evaluation system to extract relevant lessons from the pilot and adjust the project design as necessary.
  • The procurement of children’s laptops from OLPC.

The Government of Mongolia (GoM) has been working with the International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) since April 2006 to select, scan and make accessible Mongolian children’s literature online and into the country’s schools. In 2007, the GoM began working with OLPC to introduce 20,000 XO laptop computers (computers that are specifically designed for primary school children) into the country’s schools in order to improve educational quality.

In the context of this ongoing initiative, the GoM has requested additional financing under the World Bank’s Rural Education and Development Project (READ) to support its ongoing collaboration with ICDL and OLPC in order to leverage READ to enhance the value of integrating children’s digital libraries with the XO laptop computer platform in rural schools.

“Grants like these make it possible for the ICDL and OLPC to create a more sophisticated, educational experience for children all over the world,” said Tim Browne, executive director of the International Children’s Digital Library. “It is an absolutely critical instrument in allowing technology to finally reach its full potential in providing the world’s children with the education and resources that they deserve.”

About ICDL

Founded in 2002, the International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) has the world’s largest collection of children’s literature available freely on the Internet. Funded initially by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and Microsoft Research, ICDL debuted at an international celebration at the Library of Congress. The mission of the non-profit ICDL Foundation is to identify exemplary books that help children to understand the world around them and the global society in which they live and make them freely available on the Internet. The materials in its collection, all presented in the original languages in which they were published, reflect similarities and differences in cultures, societies, interests, and lifestyles of peoples around the world. For more information, please visit ICDL on the Web at www.childrenslibrary.org.

About The World Bank

The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. We are not a bank in the common sense. We are made up of two unique development institutions owned by 185 member countries—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA).

Each institution plays a different but supportive role in our mission of global poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards. The IBRD focuses on middle income and creditworthy poor countries, while IDA focuses on the poorest countries in the world. Together we provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, communications and many other purposes. For more information, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org.mn.

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NOTE TO EDITORS:  Experts from the International Children's Digital Library Foundation are available for interviews and/or commentary on a wide range of related topics including: the role of digital books in elementary education; using the Internet to fight global illiteracy; the digitization of books; and the role of the Internet in supplementing the world's libraries.