Powering Up a Country

The CoSN International Delegation participated in a series of presentation on Tuesday regarding Portugal’s program to change not only their educational system, but their entire country by putting ensuring that every child has access to a computer and to broadband Internet connections both at home and at school. 

Mario Franco, President of Portugal’s Foundation for Mobile Communications, with a discussion of Portugal’s efforts and some of the results.  Portugal’s program is not a “give-away”, but rather a program with shared financial responsibility.  Under this model the state carries approximately 27% of the overall cost while the scale helps to ensure that families at the very lowest income levels can participate.

The results are that more than 1.7 million individuals have directly benefited from this program.  But, wait…there’s more!  While the primary focus is education, this program has also enabled changes in the way that government delivers services and connected families to the Internet. Mario estimated that perhaps 42% of Portugal’s population has benefited from the program.