Jamaica to Distribute “Thousands” of Tablets to Students, Teachers

Above: Kingston (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Jamaica is planning the distribution of “thousands” of tablet computers to students and teachers in the country as part of a new pilot project.

The distribution, called the “Schools Tablet Computer Programme,” will begin in September, according to Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister Philiop Paulwell.

“Under that programme, every single student and and teacher at 30 schools — five childhood institutions, 10 primary schools, five junior high schools and 10 high schools across the country, will be given a tablet computer free of cost,” he said.

That will amount to 20,000 tablets, he said. The schools chosen for the programme are those that have been deemed to be underperforming academically by the Ministry of Education.

The project will be undertaken by the Ministry of Education, the E-Learning Company Jamaica and the Universal Service Fund, something he said would “fundamentally change the way we approach education in Jamaica.”

“The joint team is currently designing the project’s key performance indicators and other criti­cal factors, and the Minister of Education will give further details in his Sectoral presentation,” he said.

The tablets will be Wi-Fi and 3G enabled, pre-loaded with certain games and apps.

The aim is to eventually expand the programme “throughout the entire education system,” he said.

“Technology allows us to break down the old traditional barriers to accessing learning resourc­es, and this administration is going to pilot the removal of all those barriers, to allow every Jamaican child an equal shot at achieving his or her goals,” Paulwell said.

The government did not disclose the specific manufacturer of the tablets.