Argentina's Netbooks in Secondary Schools Initiative

Albany, NY (November 21, 2011) - Dr. Silvina Gvirtz, Incoming Minister of Education for the Province of Buenos Aires in Argentina, Associate Professor of Education at the Universidad de San Andres, and Visiting Educational Administration and Policy Studies Professor, spoke to faculty, staff, and students November 15 on Argentina’s nationwide initiative to distribute laptops (netbooks) to all students and teachers in public secondary schools, including those in special education classes.

The government program, known as ‘Conectar Igualdad’, seeks to address three key policy aims: 1) to reduce the digital divide between students from rich and poor households, and among different regions in the country; 2) to halt the withdrawal of youth from secondary schools, who have minimal labor market prospects; and 3) to improve student motivation and learning outcomes in a range of skills and proficiencies.

Dr. Gvirtz discussed the critical importance of pre-service and in-service teacher training in ensuring the effectiveness of the netbook distribution, and highlighted the lessons that have been drawn thus far during the implementation process. She also noted that assessments of student learning, as a consequence of the intervention, are on-going.

Dr. Gvirtz's visit was hosted by the Department of Educational Administration and Policy Studies and its Institute for Global Education Policy Studies (IGEPS).