This is one area where it is not possible to rank below stage 3 / stage 4. After implementation of Ceibal plan Uruguay is the only nation in the world to have made provision of one laptop to every student of primary school. Though these laptops are the cheapest possible $100 XO green laptops (actually cost $260 to the state), yet these laptops connect the students through Wi-Fi installed at all schools. Ceibal is name of a traditional tree in Uruguay and also a Spanish acronym for "Educational Computing Basic Connectivity for Online Learning.". According to the data available on , the literacy rate in Uruguay is 98% and according to the policy of one laptop per child policy around 420, 000 laptops had been distributed in the students. A remarkable point about this program is that the laptops were actually distributed and their use was encouraged in the schools because in a typical developing country, these laptops could have been left to gather dust in government store houses as well. The initial implementation of plan has involved 62,000 students and 18,000 teachers in the program . About 70% of the initial lot of the laptops was distributed to those students who did not have a computer at home. It is thus an effort to bridge the digital divide because many of the users of OLPC laptops had never used computer or accessed internet in their life before getting an opportunity to own a computer through this program . There have been criticism on the operating system of the laptop as though it runs on Linux operating system, it has been customized for the laptop and provided with an unconventional sugar interface. This criticism has however been rebuffed with logic that the primary purpose of the plan is to introduce ICT in the educational system and the laptops do contribute towards achievement of the goals irrespective of the operating system.
One great aspect of the plan is the fact that the laptops are owned by children and they carry these laptops home after the school time. This in many cases opens up possibilities for use of the laptop by many other individuals apart from the child and hence contributes towards connected learning of the non-targeted audience as well .
With the advent of the Ceibal plan, there is a lot of awareness about making effective changes in the educational curriculum and teacher training to make it conform to the requirements of the ICT enabled educational system. Teachers in the schools where Ceibal has been implemented have been trained specifically for making use of the available infrastructure for improving the teaching environment. According to , the Ceibal Plan is not just about laptops, it is a complete ICT enabled educational system. The important point here is the full transfer of ownership of the laptop for free, introduction of an educational television channel to complement the program, using schools as free internet connectivity and Wi-Fi hotspots for the communities throughout the country and training programs not only for the teachers and students but also for the parents and community for using the equipment (assumption being that child’s laptop will also serve the family and community’s learning needs. This is not only a “one laptop per child “program but a “one laptop per teacher” program as well. Free connectivity ensures that the student can use unlimited resources on the Internet for fulfilling his or her learning needs and there is much focus on creation of specialized digital content for use with the program. The focus of the program is hence using ICT for enhancing education and it is not limited to provision of laptops only .Developing the ICT Workforce (STAGE 3)
The Ceibal program is in fact more than an educational program. It is poised at changing the ICT landscape of the country and with the focus on development of local content and digital material for the system; it will create a pull force thus encouraging the local workforce to move towards the ICT related disciplines. LATU is the agency that runs the Ceibal Plan and apart from this project, LATU focuses on knowledge development activities and training of workforce in different technical domains. Uruguay is one of the most developed countries of Latin America in terms of economy and technology . Uruguay has a modern telecommunications infrastructure and a well-developed software and computer services sector. The software industry of Uruguay is experiencing very rapid development and there is a considerable growth of sales and export . Software development industry acts as a pulling force for the IT professionals and hence the industry’s growth also determines the career choices and the academic preferences.Sources
Contributor: Mohammed Al-Otaibi