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 Thursday, 14 October 2010
Carlos Slim Foundation & ITU: Digital Classroom inauguration

ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré found himself exuberantly mobbed by hundreds of small children this morning, as he assisted in the inauguration of a new Digital Classroom at the Ricardo Flores Magón primary school in the colonia of Santa Eduwiges, just a few minutes from Guadalajara Expo centre.

A joint initiative of the Carlos Slim Foundation and ITU’s Connect a School, Connect a Community programme, the ‘Aula Digital’ features a range of different types of computers and electronic equipment, including Dell laptops, bright green-and-white XO laptops from One Laptop Per Child, and large-screen Mexican-manufactured Lanix machines.

Addressing the school’s staff and 850 children aged between 6-12 years, along with dignitaries including Mr Antonio Gloria Morales, the Minister of Education for the State of Jalisco, Dr Javier Elguea Solís, of the Carlos Slim Foundation, and the Principal of the school’s morning programme, Ms Graciela Gómez Castellanos, Dr Touré said: “There is no more important institution in the world than a school...  schools are the foundation of everything we do; every service which is provided by governments or industry; and every opportunity for social and economic development.”

Ricardo Flores Magón’s new Digital Classroom is the 17th such learning centre funded and installed by the Carlos Slim Foundation in the Guadalajara area. Demonstrating the facilities to Dr Touré, Mr Solís showed how the children are now able to connect to a network of over 100,000 computers in 1,000 schools throughout Mexico, providing more than half a million school-age children with access to the wealth of information on the web, as well as to advanced e-learning applications.

Clearly moved by the children’s unbridled enthusiasm for the new technology on offer, Dr Touré said: “Coming here and looking in your eyes gives me great hope for the future,” he said, “because I see today a very proud future in each of your eyes”.

The surprise announcement by Minister Morales that the State of Jalisco would donate a technology teacher to the school elicited another loud cheer from the children and warm applause from the Principal, teachers and representative of the local Parents’ Association, Ms Angeles Navarro Silva, whose 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter will soon be benefiting from the new classroom. On behalf of the school’s parents, Ms Silva also presented Mr Solís with the gift of an imposing silver coat rack, to express their gratitude for the exciting opportunities the new facilities will offer their children.