Four companies are currently supplying tablets to teachers and students under the Tablets in Schools (TIS) Pilot Project, following their signing of contracts with e-Learning Jamaica Company Ltd in March this year.
The four device and service providers under the project include: Digicel Jamaica, Innovative Corporate Solutions, Productive Business Solutions, and GeoTech Vision Enterprises Limited.
The contracts involve the delivery of a range of supplies, including devices, accessories, and device management solutions and services, such as tracking and content control. The pilot involves 38 learning institutions, which will be equipped with tablet computers during this academic year.
The Project is being administered in 13 primary schools, six all age and junior high schools, 11 high schools, six infant departments, one teacher’s college, and one special education institution. The initiative will, in the first instance, involve more than 2000 teachers.
Following a review of the year-long pilot, Tablets in Schools will be rolled out across the island, targeting 600,000 students and teachers.
Speaking at the signing of contracts totalling $800 million last March, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, said measures are in place to protect the tablet computers against theft and misuse.
“In developing this project, we have been very careful to view similar projects elsewhere… and we have carefully studied the pitfalls, and observed some of the successes.”
He said while the project is not without risk, the government will, as far as possible, seek to prevent some of the possible pitfalls. “We are never going to move this country forward, if we are not bold enough to take risks,” the Minister emphasized.
As outlined by representatives of the providers at the signing, each tablet is accompanied by tracking and disabling technology.
Minister Paulwell pointed out that extensive training is been carried out, involving not only teachers and students, but also parents and the wider community, to ensure that everyone has a stake in policing the project.
“We intend to transform the way we receive and manipulate information…it is to educate Jamaicans better (and) to secure growth and development, and employment for our people,” he said.
Each of the pilot schools and institutions will be equipped with fast speed broadband access. “Also, we are going to have enough capacity in (these) schools to enable persons to bring their own devices…and access this world of information,” Minister Paulwell told the gathering.