IDG Connect looks at Chile’s computer for schools program - Jonathan Keane, freelance journalist, living in Ireland, covering business and technology writes, "The Chilean education ministry and the student grant and assistance organisation La Junta Nacional de Auxilio Escolar y Becas (JUNAEB) recently launched the second phase of the “Connect to Learn” program in a bid to enhance computing education in schools across the country."
|Photo: IDG Connect|
Since its launch the initiative has worked with several PC makers to fill the program and allocate free PCs to seventh grade students up and down the country.
In August the organisation announced that the Taiwanese computer giant Acer, which has been previously involved, will now be the sole provider of notebooks to schools in this second phase. The scheme will now see more than 75,000 notebooks delivered to students via Acer’s Chilean distributor NetNow.
“Giving students access to technology makes learning deeper, richer and more engaging, and helps prepare them for a secondary education and future career,” says Jorge Tunon Subercaseaux, NetNow general manager on the benefits of the program.
Acer added that it was chosen as sole supplier as it was the only company flexible enough to meet the government’s requirements.
A spokesperson for Acer told IDG Connect that it has already delivered the 75,000 computers it had promised to the Chilean government’s logistics operators. Computers are being delivered to students in stages every week.
“Approximately 35,000 have been delivered to students and about 5,000 units are being delivered every week to complete the total quantity,” she added. “Each delivery is handled by the most important local authorities in each city.”
On October 1 [Spanish], JUNAEB and local authorities delivered hundreds of computers to a school in the small city of Machalí.
“This is not just delivering a computer to a student, but a benefit to a family that will see shortened the digital divide between its members,” said a spokesperson for the local Machalí authority. “In addition children can enhance their learning processes and be immersed in the world of information.”
In Chile, as well as many other Latin America countries, the digital divide has hit poorer regions the hardest leaving many families behind, but the number of those accessing the internet in the country is growing. eMarketer figures show that the country has about 6.4 million internet users, and growing, coming up on half of the population.
Source: IDG Connect