Venezuela to Provide Children with 50,000 Mini Laptops

This
week the Venezuelan Education Ministry began its program, dubbed Project
Canaima, to provide primary schools with mini laptops, and incorporate the
technology into the education system.
By Tamara Pearson – Venezuelanalysis.com
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Mérida,
July 29, 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) - This week the Venezuelan Education Ministry
began its program, dubbed Project Canaima, to provide primary schools with mini
laptops, and incorporate the technology into the education system.

While
schools are on vacation this week, the ministry will be conducting workshops
for teachers on using the computers as educational tools. Starting in September,
when the school semester begins, the ministry anticipates providing 50,000
laptop computers to over 1,150 schools nationally.

The
batch is the first in a total of 350,000 computers that Portugal has
agreed to send to Venezuela
as part of an oil trading agreement between the two countries. Venezuela also
hopes to set up its own assembly plant for the mini laptops as part of a technology
transfer agreement.

The
computers will run on the open source operating system Linux, while the Education
Ministry together with the National Centre for Information Technology are
working together on designing education programs for the computers. The
computers are made for children, both in size and durability, and come with
wireless internet access and flash memory instead of a hard drive.

President
Hugo Chavez said in March, "We're going to put computers in the classrooms. The
teachers will have their computers connected and every desk will have a
computer, every child will have a little computer."

According
to World Internet Usage, 29.9% of Latin America's
population have some kind of access to the internet.