5.5 Portugal

Portugal’s e-escola program was announced in June 2007. It calls for distributing 750,000 laptops (ASUS, ACER, Fujitsu, HP, Insys or Toshiba), along with broadband Internet access, to teachers and secondary students.

The laptops include Windows software and sell for EUR 150. Students from low-income households receive the laptop for free, but they have to pay for the broadband service subscription. The laptops are sold through telecommunication operators, which offer an EUR 5 discount off the monthly broadband price, with reduced monthly fees for low income students. 188 The program started in September 2007, and 250,000 laptops had been delivered by June 2008. 189 E-escola is subsidized from the fees mobile operators paid for UMTS (3G) licenses.

Table 5-2: The e-escola Mobile Broadband Offer

Income level

1st Scale

2nd Scale

3rd Scale

Laptop

€0

€0

€150

Monthly Internet price

€5

€15

€17.87

Note: Income level refers to the Portuguese system whereby households from 1st and 2nd scale are eligible for various government education subsidies. The broadband offer requires a 36-month commitment. The plan is capped at 1GB data transfer per month and offers speeds up to 2 Mbps. For the 3rd income level, the laptop is not bundled into a monthly price, requiring users to purchase it upfront.

Source: TMN.

Building on the e-escola experience, the Portuguese government in July 2008 formed a partnership with Intel to produce a Portuguese version of the Intel Classmate (the “Magalhães”). The e-escolinha project calls for distributing this computer to 500,000 primary school students. The program charges parents a fee for the computer, based on their economic situation. Those from low-income households do not have to pay, whereas those from medium-income households pay EUR 20 and those from upper-income homes pay EUR 50. 190 Some 370,000 Magalhães computers have been distributed. 191 After a student has obtained a laptop through the program, Portuguese mobile operators offer an optional EUR 5 per month discount for broadband Internet access. 192

189 Carlos Zorrinho . “Bridging the Digital Divide to Connect People to Innovation.” Presented at E-Skills 2008.

191 Jorge M. Pedreira. “Technological plan for education: The Portuguese framework for ICT in education and the Magellan initiative for primary school children.” Presented at Inter-American Development Bank Seminar “Reinventing the Classroom”, September 15, 2009. Washington D.C. http://events.iadb.org/calendar/eventDetail.aspx?lang=En&id=1444

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