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  • The Government is exploring the possibility of expanding the $1.4 billion Tablets in School (TIS) pilot programme, based on the positive impact it has had at institutions benefiting, thus far.
  • This was disclosed by Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, who has pointed to “renewed” interest in attending school and learning being displayed by students at participating institutions, since the year-long project commenced in September.
  • The Minister was speaking at the recent re-launching ceremony for the Ebony Vale Information Technology Centre in St. Catherine.

The Government is exploring the possibility of expanding the $1.4 billion Tablets in School (TIS) pilot programme, based on the positive impact it has had at institutions benefiting, thus far.

This was disclosed by Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, who has pointed to “renewed” interest in attending school and learning being displayed by students at participating institutions, since the year-long project commenced in September.

“The success so far is good. We have seen students, especially the boys, giving up lunch time and recess (to focus more in their lessons); (and) we’re seeing, already, students reading improving, (while) attendance records have shot up. Students are coming to school because the computer now provides a means of learning that is interesting and it motivates them to go and find out things,” he said.

The Minister was speaking at the recent re-launching ceremony for the Ebony Vale Information Technology Centre in St. Catherine.

Mr. Paulwell said it is based on these results and the positive feedback from the beneficiaries that the pilot project’s expansion is being explored to accommodate more students and institutions.

“We feel, already, that the programme has to be expanded, and we’re in touch with the Universal Service Fund (USF) to see how we go about doing it. (However) it won’t be entirely free as the pilot costs J$1.4 billion for 38 institutions (with) about 25,000 students (benefiting). We have to (expand) this (programme to accommodate) 600,000 students,” he explained.

In calling on parents to contribute to this endeavour by purchasing a computer tablet for their children, the Technology Minister said the Government will continue to provide support for the programme through the provision of facilities such as e-books, the internet, e-books, and Wi-Fi.

“We pay for all the books now…(so) they (students) no longer have to carry books. They now use ebooks and they’re all on the tablets. Those would normally cost (upwards of) $20,000; (so) we are going to take care of that cost.  If parents realise a saving like that then, perhaps, they can contribute to the cost of a tablet,” Mr. Paulwell stated, while assuring that the government will continue to underwrite the cost for subject contents and internet facilities.

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