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Laptops become reality for Uruguay’s school children

A laptop is now finding its place alongside a notebook and pen in schoolbags in Uruguay, the first and only country to offer an internet-connected computer to all public primary school students, AFP reports. In the small town of Poquitos, about 20 students study The Odyssey by singing, drawing, and even rewriting Homer’s epic poem with the help of their small green XO laptops from the nonprofit One Laptop Per Child initiative. Judging by their smiles, the pupils are loving this newfound way to participate in literature class. In all, 380,000 computers have been distributed free of charge to public school students and teachers across this South American country. The decision has not always pleased the teachers; some would have preferred to use the funds to reform the local school system or to increase teacher salaries. But student enthusiasm has won them over, and they now use the mini computers several times a week. "The goal is to teach students how to work in a different way, so they can get better jobs five to six years from now," said Miguel Brechner, who heads the program. "But we also would like to give students equal opportunity. As a result of this decision 220,000 more household now have a computer, and half of them are among the poorest ones."

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