Irwin High gets promised tablets
Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU: Students at Irwin High School in St James were yesterday given tablet computers valued at J$59 million, as a part of the Ministry of Education's pilot distribution of tablets in schools to usher in digital learning for students.
Despite some initial hiccups in the distribution process, several students were able to get their tablets, which were distributed to them by representatives from Digicel and the e-Learning Jamaica Project, which are partnering in the project.
The distribution exercise was carried out as a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, which are also partnering in the e-Learning Jamaica Project.
Promised tablets last year
Aldin Bellinfantie, principal at Irwin High School, thanked the students and their parents for their patience in waiting on the tablets, which they were promised from last year.
"From last September, you were told that we were getting tablets, and this September has come and gone," said Bellinfantie. "... they are here ... . We know everybody will leave here with their tablets today."
He added: "... that is a promise from the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining and the Ministry of Education. As a pilot school, we welcome it."
In endorsing the tablet distribution exercise, Digicel deployment officer, Rohan Williams, expressed pleasure that the telecommunications company could be involved in giving the students at Irwin High School access to digital learning.
"We have always strived to be part of new innovations and we have always tried at all times to be part of the upward growth of our nation in whatever way we can assist," said Williams.
"... and as such, we are very happy to be a part of this e-learning project, as we see it as another opportunity to offer aid to our nation as we strive toward Vision 2030."
Williams continued: "As we distribute these tablets to the Irwin High School, it is our desire that the students will use these tablets in the best way they can and to aid in the teaching-learning process."
When the project was first announced last year, Technology Minister Phillip Paulwell said Government would be spending J$1.4 billion to conduct a pilot project to introduce tablet computers in schools.
Paulwell said the computers would come preloaded with age-appropriate applications and games, approved textbooks and software for students up to Grade 12. He also said the devices would have security features for tracking them, if stolen, and to bar children from accessing dangerous or inappropriate content.