Intel Chairman Craig Barrett Joins Portugal's Prime Minister to Kick Off New Program Providing 500,000 Educational PCs to Portuguese Children
LISBON, Portugal, July 30, 2008 – In one of the most comprehensive educational technology programs in the world, the Portuguese government is providing educational PCs to school children receiving basic education -- equivalent to elementary school -- in a memorandum of understanding with Intel Corporation.
The Magellan Initiative ("Iniciativa Magalhães"), a new program under Portugal's education technology plan, was launched today by Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates and Intel Chairman Craig Barrett. In the upcoming school year, the program aims to deliver a half million computers based on the Intel-powered classmate PC to Portuguese children. The full-featured student laptop is specially developed by Intel for education. The Magellan Initiative complements Portugal's successful year-old e-School ("e-Escola") project, which provides educational notebooks and Internet access to teachers and students for the secondary level of school education. Both programs align with the government's far-reaching "Technology Plan – Portugal" (Plano Tecnológico – Portugal). The umbrella plan is to increase the use of computers and the Internet to provide Portuguese citizens with the latest technology and support them to participate in a knowledge-based economy.
"We enthusiastically support Portugal's commitment to a comprehensive technological plan for education," said Barrett, who is traveling to Portugal on behalf of Intel and is also the chairman of United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development (UN GAID). Intel's global initiative aims to improve education, health care, entrepreneurship and government services by accelerating access to computers, connectivity and locally relevant content. "The government's priority to make technology accessible to Portugal's schools and children is a model for governments and corporations working together to prepare future generations for long-term opportunities."
"This new collaboration with Intel underscores Portugal's commitment to advance quickly toward a knowledge-based economy," Sócrates said. "By equipping our schools with state-of-the-art computing technology and Internet connectivity, we hope to hasten the transition to economic models that benefit our citizens."
Intel will provide technology advice and support to the Portuguese government in managing, promoting and implementing the e-Escola and Magellan initiatives. They are also planning to create a "Competence Centre" in Portugal to expand the use of mobile PCs and Internet access and use that knowledge to replicate pilot projects in other countries.
Prior to today's launch, Barrett met with Sócrates to discuss the prime minister's plan to invest in the education for Portuguese students and to provide them with tools to participate in the 21st century economy. The plan's key priorities include education, foreign investment, creating favorable conditions for entrepreneurs, and promoting growth and jobs.
Innovative Education Program is Model of Public-Private Partnership
In related educational efforts in Portugal, Intel has helped deploy the Intel® skoool™ Learning and Teaching Technology, an interactive Web-based resource for learning math and science. The Portuguese version, called skoool.pt, was launched in November 2007 as a joint initiative between Intel and Castelo Branco government with the support of Portugal's Ministry of Education. The skoool.pt Web site offers resources for high school students in math, biology, physics and chemistry, and has registered more than 60,000 visits in its first 8 months.
Under the Magellan Initiative, the country's half-million children receiving basic education will get educational PCs over the course of the coming school year through Portugal's Ministry of Public Works, Transportation and Communications (MOPTC). Intel will serve as the government's technology advisor for the Magellan Initiative, as it did with Portugal's existing e-Escola subsidy program for older students. Intel is providing advice on needed infrastructure and training, as well as designing the student laptops that will form the bases of the program. The full-functional classmate PCs are designed for young students; the systems are compact, simple to use, water- and shock-resistant and loaded with locally relevant educational software. Education-oriented software for classmate PCs is currently available in Portuguese and other languages.
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