Mérida, November 17th 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – The Venezuelan government this week distributed the first of an additional 350,000 portable laptop computers to be provided to public elementary school children by the end of the year.
In the Caracas neighborhood of El Paraíso on Tuesday, Minister of Education Jennifer Gil, presided over the ceremony in which 109 Canaima computers were handed to first and second grade students at Mario Briceño Iragorry Elementary.
“The Canaima Plan is a milestone and a technological innovation. It allows us to keep deepening our integral and massive education system that does not involve just students, but the entire family environment, parents, representatives and teachers,” stated Gil at the event.
According to Gil, the Venezuelan government has invested BsF 700 million (US$163 million) this year in the acquisition from Portugal of the kid-friendly Canaima laptop computers, 228,000 of which have already been distributed this year. The goal for 2010 is to distribute a total of 525,000 Canaima computers.
During his weekly televised address to the nation on Sunday, President Hugo Chávez announced that all public schoolchildren are to be secured a portable computer, school uniforms, and books.
In reference to an educational program available on the laptops that portrays Venezuela’s liberation hero Simón Bolivar, Chávez said that, “it is much better [that the children] watch these historical and cultural programs than the narco-soap operas filled with anti-values and the destruction of society.”
“Only in socialism is it possible to make real the rights of children, the rights of the people, to an improved quality of education and standard of living,” affirmed Gil.
The Canaima Program began in mid-2009 as part of an oil trading agreement between Venezuela and Portugal. The laptop computers run on the open source operating system Linux, and the educational programs and software included in them is designed by Venezuelan engineers at the Ministry of Education and the National Center for Information Technology (CNTI).
While in Portugal last month, Chávez announced the purchase of an additional 1.5 million Canaima computers as well as plans to install a Canaima production plant in Venezuela.