In Colombia, the Computadores para Educar programme is reducing social divides and improving educational quality in the country by incorporating ICTs into basic and intermediate public education.
This social programme, set up by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies and the Ministry of Education, was evaluated in a study conducted by Universidad de los Andes in 2010.219 The results were clear that ICTs have a positive impact on educational quality and academic achievement. Provided that teachers are properly trained, students are more likely to move ahead to higher education, and social disparities will be reduced. The Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies’ Plan Vive Digital for the expansion of broadband technology is now taking up the challenge of increasing the reach and magnitude of Computadores para Educar.
The Computadores para Educar programme has found ways to adjust its management model in the field, not only to make the programme more efficient and to improve the cost–benefit ratio, but also to make it more inclusive and sustainable for the community.
From 2000 to 2010, Computadores para Educar provided 291,261 computers to 20,673 public schools (more than 53 per cent of all schools in Colombia), offering ICT access to almost 6 million children (65 per cent of children enrolled in the public system). Educational training was provided in 11,135 schools, enhancing the competence of 43,986 teachers (15 per cent of the total number of teachers in the country). A total of 78,327 computers were reconditioned, avoiding the disposal of more than 4,000 tons of electronic waste. The total social investment made by Computadores para Educar to groups in need in Colombia has amounted to some USD 172 million over 10 years. This investment has generated a social return of 2.4 times that amount. 220
In 2012, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology further implemented the integration of computer delivery to schools with the training of 28,000 teachers in schools countrywide. A team of 2,300 ICT managers, who were linked with universities and schools, won a public tender to supply computers in every education centre and provide training to teachers in ICT skills, in order to improve classroom practices. "The coverage of this strategy covers all over the country, reaching more than 28,000 official educational centres, located in 1,123 municipalities," said ICT Minister Diego Molano Vega in an interview in August 2012. He noted that the strategy will be implemented in the next three years, during which 400,000 terminals will be delivered, benefiting mainly the sectors of the population with the highest degree of vulnerability.221
220 Computadores para Educar in Colombia. Available at: http://www.itu.int/net/itunews/issues/2011/07/52.aspx