The introduction of tablets in the school system is far from becoming a reality, according to Education Minister Anthony Boatswain who said that teachers would first have to be exposed to a level of training before tablets are presented to the students.
“It makes no sense giving children tablets if teachers, themselves, are not trained in the use of the tablets,” the Education Minister told a radio programme last week Wednesday.
He also said there is need to ensure that the supporting infrastructure is in place to accommodate the use of the technology.
“All of these things have to be put in place before we can selectively decide which category of students we will give the tablets to, whether it is Form 3’s or Form 4’s, and then we’ll make a decision,” he said.
Minister Boatswain who sees a need to incorporate Information Communication Technology (ICT) in schools is cautious about its implementation.
“Definitely, we must incorporate ICT in the schools. The technology is there, but we have to be careful as to how we move forward,” he said.
During his visit to Grenada last month, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro made a symbolic presentation of 50 tablets to Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
Minister Boatswain said he does not want anyone to have “heightened expectation” that every child will have a tablet next week or next month.
“We want to do it right, and, therefore we will take our time and ensure that all the preconditions are in place before we introduce the tablets (in schools), but let us be clear, there must be the infusion of ICT in the learning process because that is the wave of the future. There is no choice,” he added.
In the campaign for the 2013 general elections, Mitchell’s NNP promised to provide each student in the nation’s school with a free laptop computer.
After the victory at the polls, the then Minister of State for Information Communication Technology (ICT), Alvin Da Breo hinted that the laptops were no longer on government’s agenda but tablets.
He told Parliament that government intends to launch a pilot project with tablets by September 2014 in time for the new school year.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell also announced that Government will no longer “provide free school books to private schools” and that the focus will now be shifted from textbooks to tablets over the next few years and that strong emphasis will be placed on teacher training in ICT.
To date none of the school students on the island have received the promised free tablets.