Ceibal en inglés for primary education is a programme that revolutionised the Uruguayan educational landscape. The Uruguayan 2008 Curriculum for Primary Education made English teaching a mandatory subject (CEP, 2009).
However, the shortage of qualified English teachers meant it was not possible to fulfil this mandate. This large-scale remote teaching programme was designed as an innovative solution to this problem (Banegas, 2013). As a result, hundreds of schools were able to start offering English learning opportunities. In combination with the face-to-face programme Segundas Lenguas, it allowed for universalisation of English teaching in almost all urban state-run schools in Uruguay, a milestone for democratisation of access.
By 2017, almost 75.000 students distributed in 536 schools all over the country were being taught English through this programme (Kaplan and Brovetto, 2018, Brovetto and Marconi, 2018). The British Council has been a partner in this initiative since its pilot phase in 2012.
While distance learning and remote teaching have been increasing in popularity for a while now and even more so following the COVID pandemic, ten years ago this endeavour was groundbreaking.
This blog post describes the characteristics of the design of the programme, the teacher roles within it, remote teaching skills involved, its impact, other related projects, and the challenges and opportunities for the future.