Students in 37 Schools to get Tablet Computers

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson (centre); Chair, Research Days Steering Committee, Professor Denise Eldemire-Shearer (left); and Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Professor Archibald McDonald, examine the contents of a publication following the media launch of the UWI Mona Research Days 2014, at the institution’s campus in Kingston, on January 21. The Research Days will be held from February 19 to 21 under the theme: ‘Fostering Growth and Development in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) through Research’.

Story Highlights

  • Students at 37 schools islandwide will have access to tablet computers, through the Tablet in Schools Pilot project.
  • In addition to exposing the users to become technologically savvy, the tablets will broaden the students’ horizons.
  • The schools selected to participate in the pilot are among those that have been assessed and found to be under-performing academically by the Ministry of Education.

Come September, students at 37 schools islandwide will have access to tablet computers, through the Tablet in Schools Pilot project.

Under the project, 30,000 tablets will be distributed to students in primary and secondary schools to increase the use of technology, and to optimise learning opportunities within and outside of the formal school system.

This was disclosed by Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, at the media launch of the University of the West Indies Research Days 2014, at the Mona campus, on January 21.

“We are currently going through the procurement of the tablets. The tablets should be here by May or June. We will spend the summer rolling them out to the students and then they’ll be ready for the next school term, which would start in September,” the State Minister told journalists.

He said that in addition to exposing the users to become technologically savvy, the tablets will broaden the students’ horizons.

“We recognise that we have to expose young people to the technology at an earlier age and we believe the technology will facilitate learning and also provide them with an opportunity to have access to a plethora of material. Right now, libraries are constrained by physical space. Once you have the internet, you can do research on just about anything,” the State Minister noted.

Mr. Robinson pointed out that all the schools which are part of the pilot project will be internet enabled.

“We will also be downloading content on the tablets, so the students won’t have to buy as many books as they used to, because the material will now be available electronically,” he said.

Mr. Robinson informed that discussions are currently ongoing with publishers about converting their physical books into electronic books.

He explained that the schools selected to participate in the pilot are among those that have been assessed and found to be under-performing academically by the Ministry of Education.

The State Minister said the Government and the Worldbank are collaborating to launch a mobile application (apps) competition.

“We are launching the competition for persons to develop mobile apps, which can be used on the tablets and which can connect to content,” he added.

The Tablet in Schools pilot project was announced by Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, in his 2013/14 budget presentation in April 2013.

The University of the West Indies Research Days 2014 will be held from February 19 to 21, under the theme: ‘Fostering Growth and Development in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) through Research’.

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