Uruguay: We Wanna Beat Argentina and Brazil to OLPC!


Rumors first whispered by David de Ugarte are now confirmed: Uruguay will be joining Brazil and Argentina in implementing One Laptop Per Child nationwide. Implementing OLPC XO's for many reasons, primarily you might assume being children's education.

President Tabaré Vázquez

That is unless you read (via Google translation) the official announcement by Tabaré Vázquez, President of Uruguay. There you'll note one reason he mentions and stresses isn't education per sea, but beating Argentina and Brazil in implementation:

But we wanted to show to them how Uruguay, just as Brazil and Argentina, is in the stage of initial launching of this project. So that Uruguay counts on certain privileges to advance in this project with respect to other countries, even countries of the region.

Uruguay is going to be the first country in America in covering to all the children in scholastic age and it can do it because we are small, because it has a reduced number of children compared with whom they can have or those that have Brazil or Argentina.

This is going to allow to us to advance quickly then step by step surely, but quickly, in covering all the children with our state schools.

Now doesn't that sound a little like the smallest kid on the playground trying to do better than the usually superstars? And good for him! I wish luck to President Tabaré Vázquez. He's set an amazingly quick roll out for the Children's Machine XO laptops:
Of March to September of 2007, we are going to begin with a test stage, of beginning for 150 students and its educational of the rear area and between September and December of the next year four departments that have still not been chosen are going to count in their totality, the children of those departments with this element.

For the 2008 we thought to complete all the departments of the rear area and in the 2009 to complete with Montevideo, all the country, a computer by boy and a computer by teacher of our state schools.

Now that doesn't read as fast as Walter Bender's OLPC Community News interpretation that Uruguay will "provide every child in Uruguay with a laptop within two years" but its still amazingly fast. I only hope President Tabaré Vázquez has a well-defined OLPC implementation plan first.

Using CIA World Fact Book numbers, President Tabaré Vázquez will need $166 million dollars at $208 per laptop or $778 million dollars at $972 per laptop to buy one for each of his country's 800,000 children. Over multiple years that would be a small percentage of his $4.4 billion government budget, but without an implementation or even a cultural integration plan, he will be making a relatively expensive Negroponte magic bet based on his country's $10.8 Billion public debt.

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208$ per laptop is the price Libya paid including One Satellite Internet Downloads Sish System Per School and One Server Per School.

Conditions for Internet Download access in the Libyian desert aren't the same as in the Uruguayan jungle.

Price per OLPC laptop is around 130$ each by itself, but for a succesfull deployment you certainly want to give every school an Internet connection, if ADSL/Cable fixed, fiber or WiMax is not possible, then the minimum is to think about a Download-only satellite dish solution, which is really cheap actually, because it is only download from satellite and not upload back to the satellite. This download-only solution, combined with a 200GB server system at the school, and possibly combined with a phone or cell phone upload connection, still for the school to cache 200GB of Internet Content which all the school students can share, which is millions of books, enables up to date curriculum availabillity, thousands of daily videos, latest news and more.

Thanx for the situation analyze.

There is no jungle here in Uruguay.

May I quote from Mr. Vásquez speech, and add a little comment?

Los niños de una misma escuela desde su casa para hacer las tareas que mande la maestra van a poder trabajar en red

Translation: Kids from the same school, from their homes, will be able to network and do do the homework sent by their teacher (female).

Now, isn't here a BIG difference with the stated goals of the XO?

Yes, Mr. Vásquez did say something different. He invoked teachers in a positive, constructive, involved manner. If only Negroponte could be so enlightened.

And at the same time, he showed what it's, in my personal view, the single most important problem regarding XO and OLPC, at least in Latin America: there's such a tremendous difference between the understanding of the project by the promoters and the politicians taking decisions.

It may sound unimportant, but this difference may bring a lot of problems in the short and long term. I promise to develop these arguments in a long-form piece...

I'm very happy about this. I had made an article explaining some OPLC stuff in my blog, in spanish. Check it out here:


Please may i know how to contact mr Negroponte and Greg west ??

Thank you ian amor ceo http://www.startup-asia.com

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