JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministries of Education and Science, Technology, Energy and Mining today (March 11) sealed a deal, which will ensure that 37 learning institutions are equipped with tablet computers for the upcoming academic year.
  • Rev. Thwaites said Jamaica must ensure that it provides the labour market with persons who have the requisite technological skills to sustain the development, which the country seeks. He noted that some call centres, for example, had expressed a need for persons with higher levels of technological competency.
  • The $1.4 billion Tablets in Schools project was announced last year by Minister Paulwell.

The Ministries of Education and Science, Technology, Energy and Mining today (March 11) sealed a deal, which will ensure that 37 learning institutions are equipped with tablet computers for the upcoming academic year.

Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites and Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, signed the contracts totalling $800 million, for the Tablets in Schools pilot, with four technology solutions companies,   at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, in Kingston.

The one-year pilot will be administered in 13 primary schools, six all age and junior high schools, 11 high schools, six infant departments,  one teacher’s college, and one special education institution. The initiative will, in the first instance, involve 728 teachers. Following a review of the pilot, Tablets in Schools will be rolled out across the island, targeting 600,000 students and teachers.

Rev. Thwaites said Jamaica must ensure that it provides the labour market with persons who have the requisite technological skills to sustain the development, which the country seeks. He noted that some call centres, for example, had expressed a need for persons with higher levels of technological competency.

The  Minister emphasised that the changes in students learning behaviours involve an increase in the use of research processes and techniques; increase in the use of high order cognitive processes and strategies; concept maps; and databases.

He expressed the hope that the training of teachers for the pilot will result in new innovative teaching methods, and the emphasis changed from a transmissive to a  more interactive and problem solving-based approach to teaching.

Rev. Thwaites added that the tablets, along with computer labs, and the soon to come on stream educational broadcasting, will  provide an opportunity for creating new material that can enhance and globalise the country’s educational offerings.

He noted that already, a module on culture change and how to adapt to learning with the use of the tablets, has been introduced for principals of teachers’ colleges, through the national college of education leadership.

Additionally,  he said the Ministry will seek to reduce “excessive” booklists by providing the appropriate material in more accessible form, with the tablets.

The contractors include: Digicel Jamaica (5,500 tablets);  Innovative Corporate Solutions (10,500 tablets), Productive Business Solutions (5,500 tablets); and GeoTech Vision Enterprises Limited (5,500 tablets). The contracts also include a range of supplies, including devices, accessories, and device management solutions and services, such as tracking and content control.

The $1.4 billion Tablets in Schools project was announced last year by Minister  Paulwell.