Plan Ceibal is a leading example of how a programme can bring innovative solutions to teachers to potently influence learning.
Matilde Bordón, World Bank
To support more equal access to education and help young people to have the skills, resilience and networks to find pathways to better lives and develop an international outlook.
Facing a shortage of trained and qualified English teachers, the Uruguayan government was keen to develop the use of technology in state schools. The result was Ceibal en Inglés, a programme that uses videoconferencing to address the shortage of teachers and reach 80,000 children aged 9-11 in over 550 primary schools across the country.
Skillful use of technology gives the remote teacher a real presence in the classroom, enabling and motivating effective real-time interaction. Our international reach and track record in English language learning means we are well-suited to address the teacher shortage issue.
The aim is to take children from beginner level to A1/A2 level on the Common European Framework (CEFR) by the end of grade six and to improve the English of the classroom teachers through a guided online self-study programme. The Uruguayan government has set up the necessary connectivity systems in 26 schools so far.
Collaboration, peer support, and a partnership with the educational body Plan Ceibal are at the heart of Ceibal en Inglés, which is centred on an innovative team-teaching methodology. Remote teachers (RTs) and classroom teachers (CT) work cooperatively using a blended learning technique, with the first of the weekly cycle of three lessons being taught by the RT and the two follow-up practice lessons facilitated by the local CT.
Through Ceibal en Inglés some 3,327 English classes a week are now taught remotely in Argentina, Uruguay, the Philippines and the UK., There are around 3,100 CTs participating from all provinces of the country and teaching at all types of schools (including urban, rural and priority attention schools). Together, these teachers facilitate language learning to some 80,000 students, covering 96 per cent of Uruguayan children in fourth to sixth-grade urban schools.
Test results from 2016 show that 78 per cent of students of Ceibal en Inglés leave primary education with a CEFR level approaching A2 in Vocabulary-Reading-Grammar. Student progress is observed in all socio-cultural levels and results indicate a progressive reduction of the social gap, even being referenced by the World Bank as an example of best practice.
This successful large-scale programme ensures schoolchildren across Uruguay; from the capital to the remotest town, have access to quality English language learning and improved life opportunities.
Our partnership with Plan Ceibal is contributing towards our key objectives in the Americas. By supporting English language teaching we are enabling equal access to education, providing skills to young people to improve their life prospects and promoting social inclusion and opportunities.
We continue working in partnership with Plan Ceibal to bridge the gap in access to quality education between urban and rural children. Remote teaching can help overcome inequalities in education by providing access to teachers that otherwise would not be possible. By leading in the delivery of remote teaching using advanced videoconferencing technology, we are helping to further enhance the UK’s international reputation as a global authority in English language teaching.