Originally published by Pablo Flores on Wed, Jan 23rd, 2008
Translated by Paul D. Spradling
Alberto Nieto, Executive Secretary to the National Agency of Investigation and Innovation (ANII), makes some very interesting declarations with respect to the rolls played by Plan Ceibal and the roll of teaching in our country, in an interview with the El Pais newspaper.
“(…) another very important value which we’ve lost is creativity; social creativity must be declared. And in that sense the present educational system in Uruguay, and in any country, has few possibilities of resolving it.Nieto’s way of thinking puts the importance of parallel actions that can be realized over Plan Ceibal in evidence; they can act as innovative and creative catalyzers on the Uruguayan society. The Ceibal Plan has the great advantage of opening spaces of participation to institutions and people (while being completely inserted into the current elementary system), which if well used, can generate opportunities for the productive growth that the country needs.
Because the educational system’s main function, whether we like it or not, is to teach to read, write, add and multiply. If in addition to that you promote creativity, the teacher has to be Mandrake [the magician]. We need to search for tools that will allow students to develop their creativity. The child learns, and simultaneously he’s thinking on his own, developing creativity, inventing things. This is fundamental for the country, we need kids that are accustomed to seeing the world with a creative and entrepreneurial vision. These values are not easy to stimulate through the current educational system. Looking for lateral exits, like Project Ceibal, seems very asserted.”
He is later asked in what areas could we innovate in Uruguay.
“The priority today is in the sectors of agro-industrial chains, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, alternate energy, technology in information and communication, touristic complex and natural resources and environment.”We can think of innovative projects that take advantage of Plan Ceibal’s potential and favor these areas. For example, how about capacitating producers on the best seeds they can plant, the best work tools, give them fresh information on the market’s prices, provide them the opportunity of connecting between themselves to make common actions…? The possibilities are there, the conditions to make use of them are also there. An example is the recent agreement UNESCO made to perform a production that will teach people to take advantage of the possibilities in the use of the laptops to access electronic governmental benefits.
It’s all a matter of not saying with arms crossed, use imagination and go. It’s a lot more productive than waiting for the solutions to our problems to come from the outside.