Uruguay Case Study


The Ceibal Project

Uruguay may be the first country in the world where all primary school students have their own laptops.101
President Tabaré Vázquez announced the Ceibal Project in December 2006 with the aim of providing each child with a laptop by 2009. There are 360,000 primary students in the country. The government is funding the project through an increase in the education budget. Some USD 21 million was allocated to the project in 2007, equivalent to 2.7 per cent of the entire spending slate for education.
The project is being implemented in four phases:
  1. First half of 2007: A pilot project was set up in a school in the town of Villa Cardal, Florida Department using 200 computers donated by OLPC.102
  2. Second half of 2007: The project was scaled up t provide laptops to schools in all of Florida Department.
  3. 2008: The government provided laptops to all schools in all departments of the country, except the capital Montevideo.
  4. 2009: Laptops were provided to schools in Montevideo.
The government held a tender in October 2007 to purchase up to 150,000 laptops, as well as servers. The winning bidder was Brightstar, a local IT firm and a vendor for XOs.103 A second tender for 150,000 laptops was held in 2008. By mid-2009, 260,000 laptops had been delivered, with plans to reach 390,000 by the end of the year.

101 The Pacific Island nation of Niue, with a population of around 1,500, also claims to be the first. See http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-08/22/content_9605171.htm
102 A department is the top-level administrative unit in Uruguay equivalent to a province or state. There are 19 departments in Uruguay.