The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a US$6 million loan to Uruguay to finance Plan Ceibal, an ambitious educational initiative designed to teach English and mathematics to thousands of students across the country.
Uruguay, according to the IDB, will use the money to extend its mathematics learning program to 90,000 primary and middle school students and English teaching to half of all 4th, 5th and 6th graders in urban public primary schools.
Launched more than a decade ago, the initiative is designed to bolster math and English education in schools, making the most of information and communication technologies available in the country.
The British Council, which is coordinating with the Uruguayan government in framing the learning method, says “this is the first time in the world where telepresence technology is used to teach English to elementary students” in a big way.
IDB has suggested that Uruguay expand its coverage of teachers to boost learning of mathematics. “The number of schools with capacity to use the platform will go from 280 to 400 at the primary level and from 52 to 125 at the secondary level,” the bank stated in a press release.
Ceibal in English, another initiative designed specifically to teach the British language, will reach 2,000 groups of 4th, 5th and 6th graders in urban public schools through the hiring of off-site teachers.
Reports say the initiative has almost solved the problematic shortage of specialized teachers of English in primary schools, besides persuading thousands of children to choose English as a secondary language.