The netbooks that will arrive as part of the Juana Manso Federal Plan They are the technological evolution of Conectar Igualdad, the program for high school students that emerged in April 2010 during the Cristina Kirchner government, was discontinued with Mauricio Macri and now “revived” with Alberto Fernández, with a new name.
One of the companies involved in the national manufacture of educational netbooks, the Fuegian firm Newsan, showed for the first time at its Ushuaia plant the new model that will begin to distribute at the end of July to students throughout the country.
The plan, which Fernández officially launched in early May, will deliver 633,000 netbooks to be manufactured in five districts of the country, to secondary school students throughout the national territory to give them access to connectivity in the context of the pandemic.
The manufacture of netbooks is carried out in plants located in the City and in the province of Buenos Aires, and in those of Santa Fe, San Luis and Tierra del Fuego.
For the relaunch of the program, the Fuegian company founded by Ruben Cherñajovsky was awarded with 108,000 units, and is participating in another call through the IDB for 72,000 more units, which have not been awarded so far.
Another of the national companies that won the tender was Grupo Núcleo from Mar del Plata through its well-known brand PCBOX. The firm was awarded 60,000 units in the first stage and some 21,000 units in the Juana Manso 2021 expansion stage.
“These 81,000 machines are delivered in different stages that last about 8 months”, said Mauro Guerrero, CEO of Grupo Núcleo to Clarion.
It is also from the Grupo BGH group, which had already been part of the old Plan Conectar Igualdad.
Computers at the End of the World
The Juana Manso Federal Plan netbook. Photo: @hmarmol.
The teams are characterized by having 4 DD4 type RAM memories and a 256GB solid state disk (SSD) on an M.2 interface, one of the fastest today. As for the CPU, one of Intel’s Celeron line was implemented, with dual core, which allows execution in 64 bits.
The combination of all these components promises to provide a much smoother user experience and, in addition, allow the execution of multiple applications unlike previous generations of the Connect Equality plan.
From a design point of view, they are also equipment designed for classroom work and rugged enough to withstand accidental drops and liquid spills.
Regarding connectivity, the equipment has 802.11ac Wi-Fi, with 2.4 GHz and 5GHz dual-band support, Bluethooth 5.0, two USB 3.0 ports and one USB type C, as many of today’s cell phones have.
One thing to keep in mind about these netbooks is the operating system. This student proposal left the support of Microsoft with Windows 10 to opt for the free Huayra 5, a Linux free software distribution with applications developed by the National State.
It also includes a compilation of specially selected applications for classroom work: text editors, spreadsheets, presentations, 3D animation and programming.
The first batch of netbooks of the Juana Manso Plan will begin to be distributed at the end of July. Photo: @hmarmol.
Manufacturing these new editions of netbooks required the factories to make various investments in equipment, such as new microcomponent inserters and improvements in production lines. In Newsan’s case it was for a amount greater than 1.5 million dollars.
The process carried out at the Ushuaia plant is called Complete Knock Down or CKD. This implies that a large percentage of the equipment is manufactured in Tierra del Fuego, starting with the motherboard and the RAM memory.
Along with this initiative, Newsan confirmed that it will generate 100 new jobs. The goal is to produce 1000 units per day to achieve the goal established by the Ministry of Education.
“The launch of the Juana Manso program entails the possibility of reactivate and start up the entire ecosystem of computers that will bring, as a consequence, the reactivation of the plants, generation of more employment and the benefit for consumers”, acknowledged Luis Galli, CEO & President of Newsan, to the newspaper Clarion.
Comparatively, the manufacture of the Juana Manso is similar to what is done with cell phones regarding the level of care and size of the components, with the televisions in the stages of assembly and testing of the screens; but unlike the others, it incorporates exclusive processes of this type of product such as cloning of solid state disks.
More secure netbooks
Computers, from the moment of their manufacture, are linked to a firewall. As the manufacturer recognized, in simple terms, the computer “gives the present” and gets permission to continue working every time it is turned on and connected to the internet.
If the computer does not connect to renew the permission, it will be blocked preventing further use. In the event of a theft report, the team can be identified and receive the order to block, leaving it unusable.
This security barrier is independent of operating system and remains active, even if the disk is completely erased, to prevent netbooks from being sold in e-commerce stores
Negotiations with the Government
The netbook of the Juana Manso plan has Intel Celeron processors. Photo: @hmarmol.
The Minister of Education, Nicolás Trotta, summoned the business chambers that were involved in the past with the Conectar Igualdad plan – through Cadiel and CAMOCA – to learn about the productive capacities of the sector and if they were going to be able to face a program of the size of Juana Manso, since the computer industry had almost disappeared in the country.
“Both the National Government and the Chambers that bring together the different technology manufacturers, were aware that the Argentine technology sector was in a position to respond in an agile way, with quality solutions and international technological advancement to implement the Juana Manso program” said Luis Gall.
And I add: “The last tender was for 400,000 notebooks and eight or nine companies are included in the project which is great because many were almost inactive in recent years and gives the possibility of starting computer plants that are going to generate more jobs ”.
The delivery of the netbooks was divided into four stages. In the first instance, 20% of the assigned units will be distributed, estimated for the end of July; and from there, and every 30 days, the following deliveries are also divided into batches.
The equipment will be delivered to the students of high schools across the country and the final distribution will be in charge of the Ministry of Education.
In this sense, as admitted by the Government, priority will be given to establishments with students who had little or no pedagogical continuity in 2020 and the distribution will begin in those provinces with a lower socioeconomic level, and with a higher percentage of dropped-off students.