2.3 National initiatives
Several countries have adopted national strategies, policies and targets for school connectivity, often reflecting international and regional initiatives. These national initiatives are important in building a national consensus to establish Internet connectivity. The paragraphs below give some examples of national initiatives. Chapter 6 contains a number of detailed case studies of such plans and strategies.
One of the priorities of Chile’s Digital Strategy for 2007-2012, for example, is to increase the intensity and depth of students' ICT usage. The goal is not only to establish school connectivity, but to ensure that the infrastructure is robust and high-quality enough to support the educational process. To achieve these goals, Chile’s Digital Strategy aimed to double the number of broadband connections, covering the entire country during the 2007-2012 period.59 Ericsson is working with the government of Chile, and with the operator Entel, to connect people in rural locations across the country.
The goal is to provide mobile broadband and telephony services, comprising voice services (2G) as well as 3G/HSPA mobile broadband technology. In 2009, Entel and Ericsson won a USD 45 million public contract from the Chilean government to provide broadband access to between 70 and 90 per cent of the rural population.
Moreover, in August 2010 the government of Chile and Entel announced a project to extend 3G and fixed broadband services across rural areas of the country, serving public facilities, including schools and health centres, and bringing coverage to an estimated 3 million people. The project, known as "Todo Chile Comunicado," will bring 3G wireless coverage to 1,474 rural sites, as well as extending fibre optic nodes to 12 regional centres, representing a total investment of USD 100 million; government subsidies accounted for about USD 43 million of this cost. 60
Accordingto the Digital Development Indicators Report published in early 2009, there were 6,835 Chilean school facilities connected to the Internet at the end of 2008, and there were 24 students per computer.61 Recent projects have boosted that figure, and the objective is to provide high-quality broadband to all students, covering schools in rural or more remote areas with satellite connections, and reaching a level of 10 children per computer. 62
In Peru, the General Policy Guidelines to Promote the Wide-Ranging Access to the Internet in Peru was issued by presidential decree in 2001. The decree created a multi-sector commission to formulate a national action plan and also set forth general policies to be integrated into individual sectors' action plans. With regard to school connectivity, the guidelines directed the Ministry of Education to submit annual plans for providing Internet access in schools.63
In Malaysia, meanwhile, the government invested up to MYR 6 billion (USD 1.97 billion) between 1999 and 2010 on its ICT for Education initiative. Most of the funds were used for computer labs to support the government’s education policy, which aims to improve English proficiency among pupils at primary and secondary schools. In 2012, the government launched the National Education Blueprint 2013-2025, which continues to build on previous initiatives. The Blueprint aims to (1) equip 10,000 national schools nationwide with 4G Internet access, (2) establish a virtual learning platform, and (3) embed ICTs in teaching and learning for teachers, students, and parents through the expansion of the 1BestariNet (Wi-Fi) programme to all schools.
Under the Blueprint, Malaysia has also undertaken to increase the number of ICT devices in its schools, up to a ratio of students per one device. The programme also foresees lowering the ratio, depending on the availability of funds and impact assessment. Under the 2013-2025 Programme, the government also will also pilot distance-learning and self-paced learning before scaling-up nationwide.
A School Examination Analysis System (SAPS) will also be introduced online for 500 schools, enabling educators to monitor students’ progress. This will be part of a project to encourage partnerships among parents, community and private sector.
The government will also invest in ICT solutions for groups with specific needs such as rural schools, under-enrolled schools, and gifted students to enable cost-efficient access to high-quality teaching and learning resources. 64
Colombia has established Compartel, a programme financed through the Fund for Information Technologies and Communication. Compartel has invested USD 365.7 million to provide broadband Internet connectivity to public institutions and community access centres throughout the country. To date, these investments have benefitted 20,656 public institutions, of which 13,691 are educational organizations. It is expected that Compartel will deliver connectivity to the 2,288 remaining schools, mostly in rural areas, thus managing to provide connectivity to schools in 27 departments of the country.65
In addition, the Colombian government awarded a USD 126.3 million tender for the Connectivity of Public Institutions, a project led by Compartel. This money will go to the companies Telebucaramanga, Unión Temporal Aprende Digital, Unión Temporal Internet Para Todos, Unión Temporal Colombia Digital, Media Commerce Partners, Unión Temporal Gilat Fontic and BT Latam Colombia S.A. to provide connectivity to 6,852 rural public schools. .
The Computadores para Educar programme in Colombia has benefited about 6.5 million children countrywide. 66 Since 2009, this ambitious programme has been driven by the Ministry of Education. The goal is to connect all official schools by 2014, and more than 320,000 laptops were acquired in 2012 to meet that goal.67
The Computadoresprogramme also includes a strategy to train 28,000 teachers in schools nationwide. To achieve this, a team of 2,300 ICT managers will provide training to teachers in ICT skills, in order to improve classroom practices. 68
Over the past decade, Portugal has defined a series of programmes to invest in educational “transformation” – i.e., to help improve education through the widespread introduction of new technologies, low-cost laptops, broadband connectivity, educational content and related training and support to schools. The programme has been part of a larger initiative to help fuel economic development and transform society.
As part of these programmes, the Technological Plan for Education (PTE) was approved in April 2007 as a national strategy to modernize Portuguese schools technologically. To achieve this, classes will be turned into interactive spaces to enable the sharing of knowledge without barriers or obstacles. Teachers, students and other school staff will be certified with ICT skills and, in addition, students will be prepared for the information society. 69
Within the PTE, several projects were established, including build-out of high-speed broadband Internet access for all schools, Internet access in all classrooms and school spaces, increasing the number of computers and support equipment, as well as their availability outside class periods, and building ICT competency and certification for teachers.
One project of the PTE aimed specifically at primary school children and pupils in the early years of lower secondary school. Known ase.escolinha, it aimed to guarantee the general use of computers and the Internet in primary schools in order to promote access to knowledge. e.escolinha complements other programmes:, e.escola for older students, e.professor for teachers, and e.oportunidades for adults in adult education programmes.
ICT has been fully integrated into the Portuguese education system. Students and teachers have easy access to online portals, enabling knowledge-sharing and the ability to share best practices. While Internet safety is not a compulsory part of the curriculum to date, schools can access monthly competitions with an Internet safety theme through the Segura.net website, which also gives access to lesson plans containing a safety theme.70
59 Estrategia Digital Chile 2007-2012, Capitulo 2: Objetivos y Metas, available at: http://www.guiadigital.gob.cl/sites/default/files/estrategia_digital_2007_2012.pdf
60 TIC en la Educacion, Indicadores de Desarrollo Digital en Chile, Estrategia Digital del Gobierno de Chile, available at: http://intrawww.ing.puc.cl/siding/public/ingcursos/cursos_pub/descarga.phtml?id_curso_ic=2069&id_archivo=76886
61 Ericsson Selected for Mobile Broadband in Rural Chile. Available at: http://www.convergedigest.com/2010/12/ericsson-selected-for-mobile-broadband.html
62 Government launches broadband programme to connect for free to all schools in Chile. Available at: http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/sis/newslog/2011/05/19/GovernmentLaunchesBroadbandProgramToConnectForFreeToAllSchoolsInChile.aspx
63Decreto Supremo No. 066-2001-PCM, Lineamientos de Politicas Generales para Promover la Masificacion del Acceso a Internet en el Peru, Anexo – Politicas Generales, available at: http://www.codesi.gob.pe/normatividad/codesi_nacionales.php.
64Asia Pacific Futurgov,, Malaysia launches blueprint for education system ICT reform, September 2012. Availablle at: http://www.futuregov.asia/articles/2012/sep/17/malaysia-reform-education-system-ict-education-blu/
67Speechof the Colombian Minister of Information and Communication Technologies, Dra. María del Rosario Guerra to the 2010 ITU Development Conference Regional Preparatory Conference for the Americas, held in Santa Marta, Colombia, from 9 to 11 September, 2009, available at: http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/conferences/rpm/2009/ams/documents/OpeningStatement_Minister-es.html
69Trucano, M., Around the World with Portugal's eEscola Project and Magellan Initiative, EduTech. Available at: http://blogs.worldbank.org/edutech/portugal
70Global Resource and Information Directory, Portugal report. Available at: http://www.fosigrid.org/europe/portugal