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  • The Portmore-based Cedar Grove Academy intends to establish a virtual school, by utilizing the 435 tablet computers allocated to students under the Government’s $1.4 billion Tablets in Schools pilot programme.
  • The project, which is expected to be fully operational by next year’s Easter term, will see students being able to access educational resources outside of regular school hours.
  • The move will result in a reduction in education costs for parents, as students will not have to leave home to access courses.

The Portmore-based Cedar Grove Academy intends to establish a virtual school, by utilizing the 435 tablet computers allocated to students under the Government’s $1.4 billion Tablets in Schools pilot programme.

The project, which is expected to be fully operational by next year’s Easter term, will see students being able to access educational resources outside of regular school hours.

Making the announcement on October 29, Principal of the school, Ottis Brown, said the teachers are finalizing the plans for the programme. He said the move will result in a reduction in education costs for parents, as students will not have to leave home to access courses.

“We are going to be doing a number of online sessions with our children as soon as these tablets are distributed to them. The teachers are making plans, and we are getting people from outside to assist us to build that virtual school,” Mr. Brown said.

He was addressing a function at the institution where representatives from e-Learning Jamaica commenced the distribution of the tablet computers to the students.

The Principal, in welcoming the tablets, said they must be utilised in the best interest of the students, and the virtual school project is one way of ensuring that they are put to full use. “We are going to put these resources to use; we are going to use them for educational purposes; that is what they are intended for,” he stated.

Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Grace McLean, told the parents, who signed for custody of the computers that they need to ensure that the children benefit from the resources that are programmed on them, as there will be enough exercises and support for students to do educational research.

“Ensure that the tablet is not seen as a toy but as an instrument for learning. It is to ensure that the child is provided with guided learning and support as they go through the different subjects; that is what a tablet environment will do,” she said.

She also encouraged the school community to play their part in ensuring that the devices are kept safe.

“This is a novelty, and we can’t ignore the fact that there may be safety issues. Work out a system to ensure that your students are provided with some kind of guidance. On their way home, the students cannot divert to the plazas; you have to provide safety for your children,” Dr. McLean said.

Chairman of the school board, Rev. Dr. Wellesley Blair, also urged the parents to be vigilant in safeguarding the computers, and ensure that they are used for the education of their children.

The Tablets in Schools pilot programme involves the distribution of 30,000 tablets computers to 38 educational institutions.

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