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Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, says teachers will be trained under the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining’s (STEM) project to distribute 25,000 tablet computers to students and teachers at 30 selected schools across the island.

“These tablets are going to be just like a laptop, with the same (functions), and we are using the first year to test how it can work. The teachers will be trained and the programmers are going to make sure that it is the text and the material that you need for your subjects that are placed on the tablet,” the Minister said.

[RELATED: Thousands of Students to be Provided with Tablets]

Rev. Thwaites was addressing a student leaders’ forum, held at Moneague College, in St. Ann, on April 26. The forum was organized by the Association of Principals and Vice Principals.

“Technology can make a big difference, and the days when you could say ‘I don’t understand computers’, those days are gone,” Rev. Thwaites emphasized.

The Minister said one of the things that the tablet computer should achieve over the next five years is the elimination of the need for some of the expensive text books that persons have to buy.

“Students in the medical faculty at the University of the West Indies, from this coming year, are not going to be using any text book; everything is on their tablet, the library is on the tablet,” he noted.

Meanwhile, responding to a question as to his position on the distribution of condoms to students in schools, the Minister told the forum that the schools are for the building of friendships, for learning, and for character formation, “not for sexual activity”.

“I do not support vending machines for condoms in the schools. That is not the way we are going to do it in Jamaica. We want to encourage young men and young women to form healthy, wholesome and loving friendships. Sex is for mature people, sex is for marriage; pre-mature sex is the thief of true love,” Rev. Thwaites said.

[RELATED: Security Features in Tablet Computers for Students]

Deputy Head Girl of Petersfield High School, Tatiana Brown, told JIS News that the forum with the Minister was wonderful and informative.

“A lot of questions and issues were raised, and the Minister of Education answered our questions very well, and he was straight forward and we have definitely learned a lot,” she said.

“This new technology (tablet computers) that will be distributed in our schools, I think that it will be very good for the students, and I hope that it will not be abused and that students will use it to their advantage in the education system,” she added.

By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter