France praises the work of Plan Ceibal in Uruguayan education

The French state media highlighted the benefits of virtual education in the times of COVID-19.
Publication date: 30/03/2020
The advance of the disease around the world and the first cases in Uruguay led the government to suspend activities in the country's schools, a preventive measure that has been taken in several nations around the world to curb the pandemic.  
"With the coronavirus crisis, UNESCO estimates that more than a billion students worldwide are no longer able to attend school. In Uruguay, since 2007, all public education students have been receiving a free tablet or laptop computer. A unique education policy in the world, very valuable in these times of pandemic," RFI stressed.
Uruguay is a world-class business center, which has made remarkable advances in technology. The country has exceptional connectivity and Internet penetration. Eighty-five percent of households have fixed broadband access (fiber optic Internet or ADSL), with 75% of them using fiber optics to the home, with download speeds ranging from 30 to 120 Mbps.
Thanks to Plan Ceibal, the pioneering "One Laptop per Child" initiative that the country launched in 2007, Uruguay became the first country in the world to provide laptops to each and every child and teacher in all primary and secondary schools in the public sector. Access to technology and knowledge has become universal and the digital divide has been significantly reduced, with the gap between the poorest and richest households narrowing from 35 per cent to 8 per cent in 10 years.
The RFI note noted that since its inception in 2007, Plan Ceibal has distributed more than one million tablets and laptops free of charge. "In Uruguay, all students in public schools are entitled to them. This is an education policy that is unique in the world," explained.
The virtual initiative has allowed students in Uruguay's public institutions to stay in touch with their teachers and access math and English platforms, among others. It also offers a messenger service and a virtual library of more than 7,000 books, the French media report noted.
"Since the closure of the educational institutions, Plan Ceibal platforms have been measuring attendance records. In this country of 3.5 million inhabitants, more than 200,000 students connect daily," the report concludes.
(With information from RFI)