Parry Town, Rio Bueno last to get tablets

Hon. Phillip Paulwell, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (third left) presents a student of Parry Town Primary School with her tablet at the recent distribution exercise at the school. Sharing in the occasion are (from left) Mrs. Yvonne McCalla Sobers, chairman of e-LJam; Hon. Lisa Hanna, Minister of Youth and Culture and Member of Parliament for the area; Mrs. Maxine Headlam, Ministry of Education Regional Director; and a representative of Sandals Resorts International.

The handing over of computer tablets under the Government’s Tablets in Schools Programme pilot project ended this week, with distribution to students in the two remaining institutions on January 28 and 29.

Some 449 students at Parry Town Primary and Infant School in St. Ann were presented with the devices on Wednesday, January 28, while 250 tablets were handed over to students at Rio Bueno Primary School in Trelawny the following day by Hon. Phillip Paulwell, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining.

The presentation at Rio Bueno brought the curtains down on the distribution phase of the $1.2 billion pilot, which saw some 25,000 tablet computers being distributed to teachers and students in 38 educational institutions across the island.

Speaking in Parry Town Minister Paulwell urged parents and teachers to ensure that students use the devices as teaching and learning tools and not as toys.

He said studies have shown that in some countries where computer tablets have been introduced into schools, that in the first year, the novelty can make the devices disruptive and distracting.

“We are aware of that. This is the reason why this is a pilot. We are trying to see what is the best technology to use. We are trying to see how we deal with the content to make sure it is appropriate. That is the reason why we engage our parents and we train our teachers, because the students can be distracted (and) we don’t want that to be the story of this pilot. So, you have to make sure that the students use the tablets to do their lessons,” Mr. Paulwell said.

The handing over ceremonies were attended by the respective Members of Parliament, Hon. Lisa Hanna for South East St. Ann and the Hon. Patrick Atkinson for North Trelawny, as well as other political and Ministry of Education representatives.

–          Adapted from the Jamaica Information Service