A few days ago I was told the story of Brenda, a young woman from San Mateo, Quetzaltenango. Like many young people her age, Brenda has a smartphone that she uses to pass time and communicate with her friends and family. But Brenda also knows that her smartphone, and any other type of technology, can help her fulfill her big dream of one day becoming a veterinarian.
Brenda takes advantage of technology to learn more about veterinary medicine, which she is so passionate about, and other topics that attract her attention. She spends a lot of time exploring YouTube, Wikipedia, and many more sites. Today YouTube is one of the largest visual encyclopedias in the world, with endless tutorials to teach us everything from how to cook to how to solve complicated calculation problems. There are also platforms like Platzi or Coursera where we can find thousands of online courses, and through them learn endless skills, such as English or programming, that will help us improve our professional profile. Other platforms, such as Amazon or Project Gutenberg, offer us access to a wide range of electronic books, from literary classics to the most up-to-date books on innovation and business trends.
Today technological tools connect us and provide us with infinite possibilities to learn and grow. They have become a fundamental ingredient of learning. That is why, at Funsepa, we are dedicated to bringing technology to every corner of Guatemala. We know that technology is a platform to become a better version of ourselves. We are convinced that technology, when used well, has a transformative effect.
Almost 20 years ago we began our work equipping one school at a time, but this was not enough and we were not satisfied. We realized we had to accelerate our pace to meet the enormity of the challenge. For this reason, for three years, we have promoted the Digital Municipalities initiative. Through this project, ALL educational centers in a municipality have access to first-world technological tools. This means that ALL children and young people in these public educational centers will be able to change the way they learn. Tomorrow is a very special day since, together with the Ministry of Education and the valuable collaboration of Cemaco, we will be inaugurating a tenth digital municipality: San Mateo, Quetzaltenango.
It is important to highlight that the five primary schools in this municipality already have technological tools thanks to the careful management of our Ministry of Education. This portfolio had already delivered Tomi equipment with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank to these educational centers. Tomi is a project that takes a suitcase with a whole kit of technological tools to different educational centers. Its model consists of 25 tablets and a server. Thanks to the Ministry of Education, five schools in San Mateo already have a Tomi suitcase to catapult the learning of their students.
Funsepa and Cemaco join forces to complement this equipment effort. Through this collaboration, these five schools will now have an additional server, thanks to which they will have access to high-quality educational content, as well as teacher training tools. In addition to this, two complete virtual environments are being equipped, with 16 computers each. These will be available to students of the Basic Institute, Diversified Institute and the Cooperative Institute. In this way, a total of 162 computers will be available to the San Mateo student community.
For years, Funsepa and Cemaco have formed a solid bond, making a real difference in the lives of Guatemalan communities. Tomorrow we celebrate an impressive milestone in this joint journey, the inauguration of the first digital municipality that we achieved together.
Thanks to this inter-institutional alliance, San Mateo will not be the same. A before and after will be marked. More than 1,600 children and young people and 79 teachers will experience a potential change in their lives. Behind every computer and every lesson, there will be Cemaco’s tireless support and his firm commitment to Guatemala. Thanks to this digital transformation, young people like Brenda will be motivated to move forward, to continue dreaming big and, above all, to achieve those dreams. I am sure that many will be able to change the course of their destiny.
Today, the inauguration of the tenth Digital Municipality in San Mateo, Quetzaltenango, underlines the commitment of Mineduc, Funsepa and Cemaco to the education and development of Guatemalan communities. The work of these entities continues to open doors and transform lives through technology, and San Mateo becomes a beacon of hope and progress. The future has never been brighter for young people like Brenda. I sincerely hope that you take advantage of these tools and that you achieve your most ambitious dreams. Go Saint Matthew!
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