Day: September 12, 2020

How Uruguay’s Internet Initiative Transformed Its Education System

By Sarah Simon

Education inequality in the United States was a problem long before the internet. With new educational tools requiring internet access, that inequality has only magnified. A 2018 study found that one in five US teens “can’t finish their homework because of the digital divide,” especially among Black teens and those from lower-income homes.

Making education more accessible, and at the same time adapting it to a digital era, is a universal struggle. But the small South American country of Uruguay—as it gains recognition for its “successful fight against COVID-19”—already had the skeleton of an emergency plan in place; the pandemic helped to flesh it out.

Uruguay isn’t often top of mind for average the American, so the fact that it is one of six countries to have successfully implemented the one laptop per child program (OLPC) offers essential food for thought: How couldn’t I have known about

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Harvard University grads connect pandemic response policies across borders

Hundal: I’ve been working as a freelance health journalist for over six years now. At the same time, I have a background as a public policy specialist advising on health care policies that support marginalized populations. So, when the pandemic took hold and quarantine mandates started to be initiated, I was looking at the situation through both of these lenses. … Our hope for a takeaway from this project is that health care leaders and legislators around the world can get a clearer picture, empirically, of what’s working and what is isn’t working to bring this pandemic to a close.

Q. How did you decide which nations to include and how did you reach the leaders?

Hundal: Typically, the leaders reach out to us. I bring to this project many years of experience in international development work. Over the course of that work, we’ve liaised with stakeholders in public service

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