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Tablets issued to 1200 Secondary school teachers -- Paulwell

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 | 7:26 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica -- A total of 1,200 teachers across the public secondary school system have been issued with tablet computers as Government rolls out the pilot for its Tablets in Schools project, in time for the start of the 2014 academic year, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining, Phillip Paulwell, says.

Paulwell made the announcement today (August 27) at an awards ceremony for 12 children of members of staff of his Ministry, for excellent performance in this year’s sitting of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).

The one-year pilot of the Tablets in Schools project will be administered in 38 educational institutions island wide, including 13 primary, six all-age and junior high, 11 high, six infant departments, one teacher’s college, and one special education institution.

It will initially involve 728 teachers.

A total of 25,000 tablets are to be distributed to teachers and students in the targeted institutions during the pilot phase.

Distribution started in July, following the signing of contracts valued at

$800 million with four technology solutions companies to provide the institutions with tablets along with a range of supplies, including accessories, and device management solutions and services, such as tracking and content control.

Minister Paulwell said that there is “great anticipation” for the project. “We have (also) been sensitising the parents, so there is great excitement,” he said.

He noted that extensive training of teachers was carried out during the summer break, and expressed his appreciation to all the educators, who had foregone other activities, to participate in the sessions.

Cautioning that the project’s anticipated benefits will not occur overnight, Minister Paulwell said “we want to analyze this project for the first year, at the end of which we believe we will be able to recommend an all island roll-out of the tablets in schools.”

He noted that once the programme is fully implemented, parents will be expected to contribute at least half of the cost for the tablets adding that by then, the cost for the devices is expected to be much lower.

“When they (companies) are bidding on 600,000 tablets, we expect a much lower price…the parents will no longer have to purchase books, so there will be savings there,” said Paulwell.

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