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Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC)
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Computers for Students

From 2005, through special programs to facilitate the acquisition of laptop computers with Internet broadband connection by families with students, more than 1 million computers were deployed, aiming at generalizing the use of computers and the Internet at home by students and families.

As planned in the Connecting Portugal programme, the Budget Law for 2006 (Law No. 60-A/2005 of December 30, Article 64) approved a tax deduction scheme to facilitate the purchase of computers by families with students, except at the highest income tax bracket. The eligible tax deduction was up to € 250 and half the cost of one computer and terminal connection for any purchase made between the 1st of December 2005 and the end of 2008. This measure was confirmed in 2008 (Decree-Law No. 108/2008 of June 26, which amended and republished the Tax Benefits Statute, Article 68) and renewed by the Law Budget for 2009 (Law No. 64-A, Dec. 31, Article 98) for acquisitions from 2009 to 2011.

In June 2007, the Government launched the e.escola Programme (site in Portuguese) to facilitate the acquisition of computers by students of 5th to 9th grade of basic education or secondary education (10th to 12th year). This program was initially designed on the basis of several meetings attended by the President of the Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC) who introduced two central ideas adopted in the Programme: (1) option for laptops with mobile broadband connection instead of the desktops previously considered by the Programme planners; (2) funding from the commitments assumed by mobile operators when they were granted UMTS licenses for promoting Information Society projects of public interest, instead of funding from the Community Support Framework III. Both suggestions proved to be essential to the objectives of the initiative and to achieve them.

The e.escola Programme (site in Portuguese) involved offers from 3 mobile operators (Optimus, TMN and Vodafone), which included several laptop manufacturers, Toshiba, Hewlett Packard, Acer, Insys. The purchasing cost of computer and mobile broadband connection to the Internet was dependent on the income of each student family. For students without Social Action support, the cost of the computer was 150 € and the Internet connection had a discount of 5 € out of the usual commercial tariff; for students with Social Action support, the computer was free and, depending on the level of the Social Action support, the monthly fee for a broadband connection to the Internet was € 15 or € 5.

At the same time, the e.professor Programme (site in Portuguese) was launched, in order to facilitate the purchase of laptop computers with mobile broadband connections to the Internet for primary or secondary school teachers.

On the 30th July 2008, the Government launched the e.escolinha Programme (site in Portuguese), to facilitate the acquisition of a new Portuguese Low Cost Computer (the "Magalhães" computer) designed for students of the 1st cycle of basic school (1st to 4th grade). Within this Programmme, obtaining Internet connection was voluntary and it could be fixed or mobile, and it could come from any of the main operators: Optimus / Clix, TMN / Sapo, Vodafone (mobile only), ZON (only fixed). For students without Social Action support the cost of the computer was 50 € and for students with Social Action support it was 20 € or completly free, depending on the level of Social Action support. Each operator offered several types of connections and tariffs (see the operator offers within the e.escolinha Programme (site in Portuguese) ).

In late July 2009, about 965,400 laptops had been provided: 472,400 computers under the e.escola Programme (site in Portuguese), 80,300 under the e.professor Programme (site in Portuguese) and about 412,700 “Magalhães” computers under the e.escolinha Programme (site in Portuguese). In May 2011, the “Magalhães” computers provided under the e.escolinha Programme had exceeded 600,000. The e.escola and e.escolinha programmes have received international recognition in several continents, due to their huge impact on generalizing the ownership of laptop computers by students of basic and secondary schools while contributing decisively to increase the penetration of computers and broadband connectivity in households.

Last updated ( 24/10/2011 )