- Over 20,000 tablet computers have been distributed to students in various institutions to date under the $1.4 billion Tablets in School pilot project.
- This was disclosed by Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, on March 10 while addressing grade nine students at the Calabar High School in St. Andrew.
- Just over 25,000 tablets are targeted for distribution under the one-year pilot, which got underway in September 2014.
Over 20,000 tablet computers have been distributed to students in various institutions to date under the $1.4 billion Tablets in School pilot project.
This was disclosed by Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, on March 10 while addressing grade nine students at the Calabar High School in St. Andrew.
Just over 25,000 tablets are targeted for distribution under the one-year pilot, which got underway in September 2014.
Minister Paulwell said the project is having a positive impact, with several schools showing attendance and academic improvements.
“The attendance in these schools, especially from among the boys (has improved). They want to come to school early and especially in some rural parishes where they don’t have Internet at home, they want to come to school so that they can access the Internet,” he said.
Minister Paulwell admitted that the tablets have been a distraction in some instances and called for greater supervision by parents, guardians and teachers to ensure the proper use of these devices.
“We have learnt a lot from the pilot so we know some of the issues to sort out, but there has to be a great sense of responsibility that the users have to embrace. You have to care the equipment and to make sure they are used for the right purpose,” he pointed out.
Regarding the content placed on the devices, Minister Paulwell said discussions are underway to ensure that the students have access to the electronic format of their books as well as approved age-appropriate games and applications (apps).
The Minister’s address formed part of the institution’s 2015 Career Day Function and targeted the boys from the grade nine cohort. It was held under the theme: ‘Taking Centre Stage in a Smarter Age’.
Noting the significant earning potential of persons, who excel in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Minister Paulwell, encouraged the boys to “choose wisely” and venture into these areas.
He noted that these areas will assist in minimising the country’s debt bill as well as create thousands of opportunities for Jamaicans.
Several booths were set up by companies and agencies including the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority, Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC).
Various departments of the school also mounted exhibits including the Industrial Department.
The Tablets in School pilot project, which involves collaboration with the Ministry of Education, is being carried out in 38 educational institutions and involves the distribution of tablets to benefit 24,000 students and 1,200 teachers in six pre-primary,
13 primary, five all-age and junior high, and 12 high schools; one teachers’ college; and one special education institution.
The initiative, being implemented by e-Learning Jamaica Limited, also involves the provision of computers and multimedia devices, including interactive white-boards/projectors, scanners and printers to pre-primary and primary schools. This is in addition to the installation of Wi-Fi at all 38 educational institutions.
Under the initiative, each school is made into a wireless hotspot, offering free access to broadband Internet for students and the wider community.
Following a review of the pilot, the programme will be rolled out across the island, to benefit 600,000 students and teachers.