It was a hot summer during 2008. Around 11am I received a call from Nicholas Negroponte (MIT Media Lab Founder). His team was ready to visit one of the smallest countries in Latin America -Uruguay – and explore the possibility of developing the ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD program in that country. During the previous year, while I was working with Ashoka I met Negroponte at the PODER BUSINESS AWARDS in Miami, and told him that his idea would have an enormous impact in Latin America. I started to help him and his foundation.
He was happy and open to meet many presidents in Latin America during that time. The bad news were that the majority of these governments started to look at the program as a political tool of penetration and political indoctrination, instead of an opportunity to improve education and to reduce the technology gap . The populist administrations were thinking in only one thing: How many computers they will supply, and how large were the commissions that politicians will get from the business. The spirit of the program was to distribute solid contents of education not only with laptops but also using incredible tools and toys developed at MIT. It was a game changer.
At LATU in Uruguay during the launch of “Plan Ceibal”One laptop per Child Program in Uruguay. President of Uruguay Tabare Vasquez.
After several years of meetings we were successful in implementing the program only in 3 countries: Uruguay, Paraguay and Peru.
Unfortunately governments in other countries made cheap replicas of the program, focusing on the distribution of laptops in every corner of the region, more than improving the quality of education. President Tabare Vasquez was one of the main supporters of the program and its contents. Nowadays Plan Ceibal is one of the most successful educational programs in Latin America using Laptops as a distribution technology for education.