President Tabaré Vázquez came one step closer to his goal of Uruguay becoming “one of the hemisphere’s information technology leaders” when he personally delivered a laptop to the last Uruguayan student in a state-run primary school without one. Last week, as part of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, Uruguay joined Niue, a country in the South Pacific, in distributing laptops to every child.
In Americas Quarterly, President Vázquez wrote: “Our children must have the opportunity to compete and succeed in the IT-based economies of the new century.” Miguel Brechner, director of the Technological Laboratory of Uruguay and head of Plan Ceibal (the program in charge with distributing laptops) emphasized this point: “This is not simply the handing out of laptops or an education program. It is a program which seeks to reduce the gap between the digital world and the world of knowledge.”
Other countries, such as Rwanda, El Salvador and Haiti have been in contact with Uruguay about implementing the initiative. For its part, Uruguay is considering expanding the program to children in kindergarten and in secondary schools.