pact iIDB evaluation of ICT in Education in Latin America

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has commissioned impact evaluation studies of programs expanding the use of computers in classrooms in seven Latin American countries, including Uruguay, the only country in the world where every child in the public education system has access to a computer. Latin American countries have taken the lead in the use of information and communications technologies in education. The studies aim to establish a firm knowledge based on the results of using information and communications technologies in classrooms, with the long-term goal of developing a model that can be replicated successfully at a regional level. According to IDB estimates, by the end of 2015 some 30 million students in Latin America may have personal computers or smart phones in their classrooms to assist them in learning.

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In addition to Uruguay, programs that use computers in classrooms have been set up in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Paraguay and Haiti. In Haiti, a $3 million donation from the IDB in 2008 financed a pilot project to give computers to 13,200 children and 500 teachers in 60 primary schools, in partnership with the One Laptop Per Child Foundation (OLPC). The Plan Ceibal, which made Uruguay the first country in the world to give a computer to all students in the classroom, has brought international attention to the South American nation. The IDB could give additional support to Uruguay's program once it gets the results of the impact evaluation study. The Uruguayan initiative was analyzed in seminar, Reinventing the Classroom: Social and Educational Impact of Information and Communications Technologies in Education, attended by around one hundred experts in information and communications technologies (ICTs) from academia, multilateral organizations and governments throughout the region. In addition to Uruguay's experience, other initiatives discussed at the seminar were Portugal's Magellan Project, the Plan San Luis Digital from Argentina's San Luis province, and Brazil's Paran

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