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Inter-American Development Bank takes leadership role in educational reform in Latin America and the Caribbean

IDB, Microsoft and Intel to hold press conference at 6:30 p.m. Hotel Camino Real, room Ayarza, in Guatemala

GUATEMALA CITY,  – March 16, 2007 – Today at the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Annual Governors’ Assembly, the IDB, Microsoft Corporation and Intel Corporation announced a collaboration focused on improving teaching and learning in Latin American and Caribbean classrooms, using technology to support learning environments.

The collaboration will accelerate the use of trials of one-to-one learning by studying and implementing the best solutions to enhance the educational experience. In one-to-one classrooms, teachers and students have their own learning devices along with access to the internet and digitized educational content which supports the core curriculum. The goal of this program is to learn better ways to enhance the educational experience so that students are learning the foundational skills they need to take advantage of social and economic opportunities enabled by technology.  This program is delivering on the commitment of the private, public-sector collaboration between the IDB, Microsoft and Intel to foster digital inclusion, develop economies and support competitiveness in the region.

“The IDB has made a commitment to the region, under its “Opportunities for the Majority” priorities to accelerate educational reform to drive global competitiveness,” said Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the IDB.  “Through this private and public-sector collaboration we can gain the critical insight we need to assess one-to-one models and determine the best possible way to leverage technology to prepare the region’s children for a bright future.”

Working within the bank’s framework program for “Information Technology and Communication for Development,” that supports technology and knowledge transference from the private sector, the Bank will be contributing a unified and comprehensive framework for the monitoring and assessment of 1 to 1 computing pilots and it will reassert its commitment as a source of technical assistance and policy dialogue in this area..

The IDB is a leading provider of financial and technical assistance to the education systems of Latin America and Caribbean countries, with an average lending volume of US $ 500 million per year over the past twenty-five years. Currently, the Banks is spearheading a new Education Initiative, aimed at supporting the countries of the region in adopting innovations in education policy that have the potential to produce a leap forward in the quality of education as well as in the education opportunities of all children. The early adoption of leading-edge technology is one of the key components of  the Education Initiative, and the promise of 1 to 1 computing models figures prominently in the list of technology-based education innovations that the Banks is helping the countries explore.

Intel will provide technology solutions that include Intel-based classmate PCs for students, educational content and professional development for teachers as part of the Intel® Teach and Intel World Ahead Program.  The Intel World Ahead program is the company’s comprehensive approach aimed at bringing uncompromised technology to everyone, anywhere in the world. Intel will invest more than $1 billion over the next five years to integrate and extend the company’s four focus areas of accessibility, connectivity, education and content.

Microsoft will provide the Windows platform, productivity tools, local content, curriculum and training resources under the Microsoft Partners in Learning initiative, to support teaching objectives for the pilots and to help drive full scale implementations. Microsoft’s Partners in Learning advances the quality of education through innovative uses of technology, helping empower teachers and students to achieve their fullest potential. Between 2003 and 2007, Microsoft helped more than 30 million people in 19 Latin American countries, and awarded over $27 million in grants and software.

“At Microsoft, we view a locally-relevant education as the foundation for economic growth in Latin America and around the world.” said Orlando Ayala, Microsoft, Senior Vice President of the Emerging Segments Market Development Group. “By working in partnership with educators and governments, our goal in this collaboration is to foster better educational content that helps Latin America grow a sustainable and vibrant regional economy.”

The IDB, Microsoft, Intel collaboration will initiate the 1:1 pilot in Costa Rica and is currently in discussions with other countries in the region such as Colombia for implementation of similar pilots. Key areas of the educational experience will be studied, including teaching innovation; children’s learning; the role of the teacher in technology-enhanced classroom; the value of relevant educational content; and the importance of internet connectivity in the classroom.

“Intel has a long history of supporting education initiatives, driven by the belief that technology can open the world’s opportunities for students,” said John Davies, vice president of the Intel World Ahead Program.  “Technology in education initiatives will help students develop 21st- century skills needed for a knowledge-based global economy and to improve economic competitiveness.”

About the Technology Solution

Intel will be providing the Intel-powered classmate PC laptops for students and teachers. Intel will also be offering professional development for teachers under the Intel Teach program. The Intel-powered classmate PC is a small, mobile education-oriented PC specially developed for students in developing communities. The fully-functional PC is designed to provide affordable, collaborative learning environments for students and their teachers.  Microsoft technology includes Windows, Office, Small Business Server, development tools, other educational software and locally developed tools and content. This 1:1 pilot study is being developed within the framework of Inter- Institutional Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) for ICT and Development, signed between the IDB and Microsoft, and the IDB and Intel in June, 2006 and September, 2006, respectively.

For more information on IDB’s  One-on-One computing model for education, please visit: http://www.iadb.org/sds/SCI/site_7245_s.htm

About the IDB

The IDB is the main source of multilateral financing for economic, social and institutional development projects and trade and regional integration programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is the oldest and largest regional development bank. www.iadb.org

About Intel

Intel, the world's largest chipmaker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com/pressroom.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. www.microsoft.com

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