Uruguay’s Take on Global Understanding

In 2007, I participated in a Fulbright exchange to Uruguay with nine other US teachers. At that time, 109 full time schools offered 8 hours of school time and three meals day. 24 of those schools were dual-language English/Spanish or Spanish/Portuguese. Schools did not typically have computers, internet or photocopiers. Yet, Uruguay was willing to think globally. A national team examined problems, consulted with various experts, worked to understand the cultural needs of the communities, and considered sustainability. In 2009, President Tabare Vazquez finalized “Plan Ceibal” which gave laptops to all grade school students and their teachers. Now 319 full time schools offer second language from dual language to immersion. Uruguay continues to think globally as it analyzes its needs and prioritizes how to address them.