1 Mn computers delivered to Uruguayan schoolchildren

Montevideo, Oct 25 (EFE).- Uruguay's Plan Ceibal, which is aimed at providing PCs to every child in the public-school system, reached the 1-million-computer milestone earlier this month, "ensuring fairness in the public's access to technology," program chief Miguel Brechner said Friday in an interview with Efe.

President Jose Mujica personally delivered the one-millionth tablet computer in early October to a student at a school in the Montevideo neighborhood of Nuevo Paris.

That type of computer was chosen because it is "more natural" for children aged four to six to use touch screens as opposed to keyboards, Brechner said.

He added that the tablets have a system "so that parents can control the content their children can view on the Internet."

Plan Ceibal, he said, "has reduced the digital divide separating the wealthiest and poorest Uruguayans" while ensuring free Internet access at every school.

"In 2006, among the wealthiest 20 percent of the population, 55 percent had a computer, whereas among the poorest 20 percent, only 5 percent had computers. In 2013, 83 percent of the wealthy have a computer and 73 percent of poorest as well," he said.

"In the 21st century, Internet access is a basic necessity, like having electricity or running water at home," Brechner insists.

Public-school children can gain free access on the Web to textbooks and books for reading, "which in many cases their parents cannot afford," he said.

Plan Ceibal was launched in 2007 by then-President Tabare Vazquez.