Uruguay has been prominent in advancing innovative public policy, leading the way internationally in many cases and breaking taboos in others. Two prominent examples of international merit are the Plan Ceibal initiative, or more commonly known as the “one laptop per child “policy and the 2018 legalization of cannabis.
Implemented in 2007, Plan CEIBAL aims to close the digital gap between children in Uruguay and the rest of the world. Its main values are to distribute technology, to promote knowledge and to generate social equity. In its first four years alone, the plan provided 450,000 laptops to students and teachers in the primary education system and no-cost internet access throughout the country. The success of Plan Ceibal is not only due to technological innovations, but also to achievements such as the creation of a training plan for primary school teachers, the inclusion of local communities, and the successful design and implementation of a monitoring and evaluation model. CEIBAL has been hailed a success on the world stage and has drawn avid attention by researchers from around the world and institutions like the World Bank and UNICEF who all seek to better understand its policy outcomes, including changes in student attitudes toward learning, self-esteem, and parental involvement.
Uruguay is the first nation in the world to fully legalize cannabis. Uruguay has legalized growing plants at home, the formation of growing clubs, distributing quality-controlled cannabis through a network of pharmacies. The primary objective of this policy initiative is to reduce drug trafficking by creating alternatives to a clandestine drug market which eventually entails other forms of crime. Much of the research to date has focused on the 2018 implementation of the policy, its reproducibility abroad and the impediments to its success, such as US banking regulations that impede their Uruguayan counterparts and credit card partners to work with drug-dispensing pharmacies. Ongoing research is beginning to focus on the effects this policy has had on shifts in user behavior, public health, and on the clandestine drug market.
- Interrogating the legalization of cannabis and its implications on user behavior public health, and drug-related crime
- Public policy evaluation: Evaluating the outcomes of Uruguay’s Plan Ceibal.