The Government of Jamaica has embarked on the implementation of the second phase of the Tablets in Schools program across the country. Over the next three years, Jamaica plans to spend $2.1 billion to equip schools with tablets for the second phase of the program.
While talking to JIS News the Minister of Education, Youth, and Information Senator Ruel Reid said the second phase will be carried out differently from the previous. In the first phase, each student received their own individual tablets. In phase two, the tablets will be given out per classroom.
“Students who already have tablets or whose parents can afford to purchase tablets will be asked to bring them to school just the same,” said Senator Reid.
“The Government will also provide a set of the devices for each class, to be secured and kept by the school rather than allowing students to take them home.”
On the first year of phase two of the project, some 221 primary and infant school will receive the tablets. The teachers’ colleges are also set to benefit from these tablets too within a short time.
“We are spending about $700 million per year, which should take us about three years or less to complete this imitative. This should cover all the primary schools. The high schools are already benefiting from the e-learning project. Our soon-to-be teachers from the colleges also have to continue to familiarize themselves with the devices so they can effectively teach the children that will be placed under their care.”
Senator Reid says the Jamaican government is committed to seeing Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills improved across the country. The government is particularly interested in introducing it to learners in their early childhood and the while at the primary levels. At this stage, students will have a critical early interaction with ICT.
The Minister stresses on the need for the students to not just mastering ICT literacy and numeracy, but they should also pay attention to the sciences behind it. That way, they will not just be consumers of the ICT products and solutions; they can also participate as producers and become even more competitive in this ICT-centric world.
About the Tablets in Schools program
This program began back in 2014. So far, the Jamaican government has distributed some 24,000 tablet computers to about 24,000 students and 1,200 teachers. The have so far covered six pre-primary, 13 primary, five all-age and junior high, and 12 high schools. The tablets have also been supplied to one teachers’ college and one institution for special students.
The program has been made possible through the partnership of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information, the Ministry of Science, Energy, and Technology, Universal Services Fund and the e-learning Jamaica Company Limited.