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Uruguay’s One Laptop Per Child Program: Impact and Numbers

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Children working with a computer

The Plan Ceibal program in Uruguay provided laptops to 350,000 students and 16,000 teachers between 2007 and 2009.

Credit: Pablo Porciuncula/AFP/Getty Images

Uruguay has distributed more than 500,000 free laptops to its students and teachers over the last five years as part of its Plan Ceibal.

The program uses XO-1 computers, and from 2007 to 2009 the program completed its full rollout throughout Uruguay, providing laptops to 350,000 students and 16,000 teachers. The program aimed to bridge the divide in a country with drastic income inequalities and regional contrasts, as well as provide each school with a wireless Internet connection that the XO devices could use.

"The cost of the Ceibal program has been modest: The four-year [total cost of ownership] is approximately $400 for four years, $100 per year per child," says a recent report. "This figure includes the laptops, replacement of laptops after four years of use, repairs, Internet costs, administrative costs, fiber-optic costs, robotics, planned videoconference facilities, the portal and platforms [for the learning management system], as well as digital resources for mathematics, reading, and other subjects."

Teachers initially said they were inadequately prepared to use the devices in their classes. However, Plan Ceibal adopted several measures to further support teachers, such as offering digital resources to encourage best practices in the classrooms.

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