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Proposed tablets measure will cost €23.7 million over four years

Claudio Grech

Claudio Grech

The PN’s proposed measure of providing primary and secondary school students with tablets would cost €23.7 million over four years, €8 million of which would be covered by ERDF funds, PN candidate and former MITA chairman Claudio Grech said this morning.

Addressing a news conference, Mr Grech said the measure was aimed at increasing children interest in learning and improve their digital literacy.

He stressed that the measure was not about giving children a toy but about encouraging them to use technology with a tool they already had an affinity to.

At the end of the day, they would be more employable and the government would get its investment in the measure five to six times over.

The measure, he said, was also part of the government’s strategy for Malta to become one of the digital leaders and continue excelling in the world of ICT.

He said that more than 50,000 tablets would be given to students and teachers between year three and Form 5 in all schools.

The government would issue an open tender listing basic requirements, including on the ruggedness of the device.

Three different types of devices would be procured for the different ages.

The investment would also cover the putting in place of the necessary infrastructure, such as the electricity points in classrooms, WIFI connectivity and the completion of the fibre to the school project, which was on-going and which would create a network between schools.

There would be training for teachers and parents who would how to participate in this new method of education.

The measure is estimated to be introduced in the scholastic year starting 2014 since the tendering process would last seven to nine months.

The government had already received positive indications from teachers but a new round of consultations would start after the election.

Teachers would be able to programme the device, which would also be available to disabled students, for mixed abilities.

The government, Mr Grech said, would buy national licences for quality content including electronic books and educational apps.

A fund would be created so that local publishers could publish their books onto the e-learning platform.

There would be another fund for local software firms to create educational apps. The press conference was also addressed by Parliamentary Secretary Clyde Puli.

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