In February 2010 the government launched Conectar Igualdad, an initiative destined to provide secondary school students and teachers with netbooks. The programme is to compliment plan ‘Un alumno, Una computadora’ (One student, One computer), aimed at technical schools students. The goal is to achieve social integration through the computerisation of the public education system while introducing students to new technologies.
Three million netbooks will be delivered to every public institution in a three-year period, starting in 2010. The budget destined to the project is approximately of US$750m.
Government’s netbooks will have specialised software, designed to meet with students’ particular requirements. Computers will be given as a bailment and students will be able to keep them once their secondary education is successfully completed.
Just a few days before classes started again, The Argentina Independent hit the streets of San Telmo to find out what locals think about Conectar Igualdad.
Sandra, 48, salesperson, San Telmo.
“I have two children, one in secondary school and the other in primary level. Both attend public institutions here in San Telmo, yet none of them has had access to the government’s programme. I support the project as long as it takes place, because not every student can access information on an international level. Nowadays, news are distorted and manipulated by the mainstream media – TV, papers and radios. Conectar Igualdad is a very good initiative and I hope it isn’t another electoral year’s promise. And, if netbooks are handed out, I hope schools provide their students and teachers with them instead of taking ownership of the resources”
Ángel, 40, janitor, Barracas.
“I really don’t know much about the subject. Still, I believe that we have other needs to be met. The government is to destine a large budget on netbooks and, while Conectar Igualdad sounds good in theory and would make an important addition to our education system, there are also many infrastructure and social issues inside schools and out. Not to mention students that can’t even afford a meal. Don’t get me wrong, I think technology plays a huge role these days and should be incorporated in education – which is very important in every country. The way I see it, there are other priorities”
María Cecilia, 33, housewife, San Telmo.
“My two girls attend a private school, so I’m not very acquainted with the subject. I have only heard of the government’s programme in the news and I thought it would only be implemented on a provincial level. I think it’s a good project but I’m not sure if it will be actually executed. I would love it to encompass all of the country, especially poorer provinces with lack of technology access. I do hope theContectar Igualdad programme is implemented to provide students and teachers with more resources, not just for the sake of a political campaign”
Gladys Blanco, 45, photographer, San Telmo.
“Actually, my son was part of the advertising campaign for Conectar Igualdad. I think it’s a good programme, I believe children should be able to access technology because we live in a technological world. In fact, I was told private schools’ students also want the government to provide them with netbooks”
Roberto Blanco, 66, salesperson, San Telmo.
“Computers aren’t being handed out yet, are they? I know people who are still waiting for the netbooks to be delivered. However, I think the government’s programme is a positive addition as long as it is well implemented. It’s just part of what a government should do.”