37 schools to get tablet computers by May/June, state minister says

Junior minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining  (STEM) Julian Robinson.

KINGSTON, Jamaica — State minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining  (STEM) Julian Robinson on Tuesday said 37 schools across the island will have access to tablet computers, through the Tablet in Schools Pilot project.

Speaking at the media launch of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Research Days 2014 at the Mona campus, Robinson said that under the project 30,000 tablets will be distributed to students in primary and secondary schools to increase the use of technology  and to optimise learning opportunities within and outside of the formal school system.

“We are currently going through the procurement of the tablets. The tablets should be here by May or June. We will spend the summer rolling them out to the students and then they’ll be ready for the next school term, which would start in September,” the State Minister told journalists.

Robinson also noted that the schools which are part of the pilot project will be Internet enabled.

“We will also be downloading content on the tablets, so the students won’t have to buy as many books as they used to, because the material will now be available electronically,” he said.

He also pointed out that discussions are currently ongoing with publishers about converting their physical books into electronic books.

The schools selected to participate in the pilot are among those that have been assessed and found to be under-performing academically by the Ministry of Education. The Tablet in Schools pilot project was announced by STEM Minister Phillip Paulwell in his 2013/14 budget presentation in April 2013.