The Government’s Tablets in Schools programme is crucial in empowering the country’s young people to be global innovators, says Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson.
Mr. Robinson made the comment at the Clan Carthy Primary School in St. Andrew on October 27 before the start of a distribution exercise in which 960 students were presented with tablet computers under the $1.4 billion pilot project.
He said that while persons have argued that the funds could have been used for other purposes, “preparation of young minds for the digital revolution is an important investment that cannot be left undone.”
“We have a vision…for you to become persons, who can use the tablets to develop solutions to problems in Jamaica, problems that may exist outside of Jamaica, and we want you to become your own entrepreneurs and business persons,” he said.
“All we need to do is provide you with the tools so that you can demonstrate that you can be the best,” he told the large gathering of parents, students and teachers at the distribution ceremony.
The Tablets in Schools pilot programme is being implemented by E-Learning Jamaica Limited. It involves the distribution of computers and multimedia devices, including interactive white-boards/projectors, scanners and printers, in addition to the installation of Wi-Fi at 38 educational institutions.
Mr. Robinson said the project is “a significant investment” in the students, parents and the community, as in many instances, the tablet might be the only computer device in a household.
“We are ensuring that these tablets can reach out to the entire family so that we can transform the students and communities; that is the vision that we have for this Tablets in School project,” he noted.
“Ensure that you take care of the tablets, us them for the designated purpose…explore, innovate, but we want you to be responsible,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the school board, Donald Foster, reported that the institution has been preparing for the infusion of technology in education, and 10 years ago a computer laboratory was built from a fundraising drive.
He said with the school now at 80 per cent mastery in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), and “getting our tablets, it will help us to move closer to 100 per cent by 2015.”