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Government to fully roll out tablet in schools programme

Published:Tuesday | June 21, 2016 | 6:14 PMJovan Johnson
In this file photo, Rickeem Raybe is all smiles as he checks out the new tablet he received during a handing over ceremony for the tablets-in-schools programme at Haile Selassie High School in Kingston.

Although declining to release the findings of a comprehensive audit at this time, the Government has indicated that it will end the pilot phase of the Tablets in Schools (TIS) programme and begin a full rollout.

Energy, Science and Technology Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley, yesterday told the House of Representatives of "comprehensive audit" that was undertaken of the pilot project.

He said on the basis of the results, the Government "intends to move forward with a restructured version of this project based on lessons learned".

Wheatley did not state what the findings or lessons learned were, noting that he will give more details of the plans "in the coming days".

"Let me state here and now that the Tablets in Schools project is here to stay ... but it is time to move out of the pilot phase," Wheatley said while making his contribution to the Sectoral Debate.

Last September, then Technology Minister Phillip Paulwell had said the pilot programme would be extended to this month "to allow the pilot schools sufficient time to fully utilise critical elements of the project that were made available to them later than anticipated".

At that time, too, the Government had received an audit which highlighted challenges such as students' ability to access non-educational sites and adult content; students changing passwords and codes to avoid parental interference; and restricted access to downloading of content and applications.

Approximately 25,000 tablets have been distributed to schools and teachers islandwide under the TIS programme, which was launched in 2014.

The programme aims

at optimising learning opportunities within and outside of the formal school system.