Sixty-five thousand tablets being procured for schools, teachers

March 23, 2020

Chief Executive Officer of e-Learning Jamaica, Keith Smith, says Cabinet has approved the procurement of 40,000 tablet computers for students and 25,000 devices for teachers, under the Tablets in Schools Project.

“We are now finalising contracts with the vendors,” he said in a recent interview.

A new phase of the project, which is to be renamed ‘Technology in Infant and Primary Schools Programme', will start in the upcoming 2020/2021 fiscal year.

Smith said that under the initiative, schools will be outfitted with charging carts, which will allow for the tablets to be stored and recharged overnight.

“We’re also going to be providing the schools with offline servers, so where there isn’t good quality internet connection to support classrooms, teachers can connect and download the content materials, which can be used offline.”

He added that the commitment was for the devices to be distributed to schools within the next 15 months.  However, “in light of COVID-19, we are trying to expedite the process to facilitate greater online learning”.

As it relates to the 25,000 tablets for teachers, Smith said that the rolling out of these devices should start mid-April, and assured that international suppliers are working to meet the timeline.

“One of the challenges we’ve had was that it was primarily focused on implementation during the introductory stage, so when the devices went out there was not much maintenance support. We are putting together plans to provide service assurance. This will include both e-Learning Jamaica resources along with other resources, which will be brought on board to provide field support to the schools while they utilise these devices.”

Smith noted that the project “is part of the Government’s effort to enhance teaching and learning skills through global digital inclusion, with the goal of increasing digital literacy”.

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