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19 October 2009, 11:53

Uruguay: Every primary school pupil now has an OLPC XO laptop

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According to a BBC report, Uruguay is the first country to provide every school child aged between six and twelve with a laptop. Over the past two years 362,000 pupils and 18,000 teachers have reportedly been given access to the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative's XO model laptops as part of the country's Plan Ceibal ("Conectividad Educativa de Informática Básica para el Aprendizaje en línea”) programme. The BBC report says that, approximately 70 per cent of the computers were given to children that would otherwise not have access to a computer.

The cost of the program including XO laptops, repairs, internet access and teacher training reportedly amounted to about $260 (£159) per child; this apparently represents less than five per cent of Uruguay's overall education budget. Now that the XO laptops are in place, the ongoing annual cost of the programme including a portal for pupils and teachers will be about $21 (£13) per child. According to the report, the Plan Ceibal project is now planning to focus on providing and maintaining connectivity to schools in rural areas.

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