Uruguay pilot experience
Accessible digital textbooks that transform education
Uruguay has made significant progress in the needed infrastructure to access technology. However, technological solutions that promote accessible and quality education for all children and adolescents remain a challenge to be solved, especially for the most vulnerable populations such as children with disabilities.
In 2008, Uruguay ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and has strengthened its regulatory framework in the General Education Law, which, in particular, promotes inclusive education.
That is why in recent years we have developed various initiatives to foster inclusive education and promote Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in the classroom. Among them, we have worked together with strategic partners such as the National Administration of Public Education (ANEP) and the Educational Connectivity Plan for Basic Computing for Online Learning (CEIBAL) on the first digital and accessible textbook.
The first accessible digital textbook was developed by adapting existing text materials. This effort was led by the National Reading Program (ProLEE), which depends on ANEP.
Different stakeholders from the public education system have participated in this process, such as the Special Education Inspection, the Resource Center for Deaf Students (CeReSo) and the CEIBAL team.
Within this framework, in June of 2022, the "Training workshop for the production and use of digital textbooks with a universal design approach to learning" was held, aimed at the technical teams of the work units participating in the initiative.
The training was attended by approximately 50 technicians and was given by international specialists from UNICEF.
We believe in the importance of promoting this project and expanding it in the coming years.
Uruguay offers great opportunities to become a model country in the promotion of accessible digital textbooks. As a proof, CEIBAL currently provides each student and teacher in the public education system with a laptop and Internet connection without cost.
The country already has a first version of the accessible digital reading and writing textbook for the first grade of primary school, which is currently being optimized.
This process that takes place within ANEP, has strengthened the education system stakeholders capacities, and has promoted the appropriation of the material.
In the short and medium term, we have set ourselves the following goals:
- finalize the new version of the first-grade digital textbook, with adjustments to expand its accessibility;
- test its use in inclusive public schools,
- present the new version of the finished textbook to the authorities and the entire educational community;
- develop support tools for first-year teachers and potential users of the book next year; and
- promote the use of textbooks to reach 2,334 public schools around the country.