Government offers to extend e-Learning platform to Church, private schools

The government, through the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA), has offered to extend its e-Learning platform to Church and private schools which which to be involved in the project.

MITA, in a joint statement with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry for Infrastructure, pointed out that it had procured and contracted an e-Learning solution for a 7-year period for the value of €8.6m. The educators and ICT professionals responsible for evaluating the bids received from suppliers chose Fronter's e-Learning solution composed of an e-Learning platform, a Management Information System, a Finance system, and Time-Tabler system.

Fronter is a highly successful company focused on education and e-Learning solutions that has worked with many schools worldwide, particularly Scandinavia and the UK. This e-Learning solution is being hosted locally at MITA-01, the recently launched corporate data centre.

Claudio Grech, chairman of Mita, stated that the e-learning programme was  proceeding according to plans.

"The installation of over 1,500 interactive whiteboards is proceeding at a very fast pace and we are confident that we shall deliver our target of having every classroom in state primary and secondary schools equipped with this technology by December 2012". Mr Grech added that the current focus of MITA is to improve the connectivity infrastructure to high-speed fibre-based connections to ensure that the schools can maximise the use of the platform.

"Teachers and students will be able to access an initial set of functionalities, which will increase by time as teachers and students become more familiar with using the solution. The roll out of the solution to state primary and secondary schools will take place between Quarter 1, 2012 and Quarter 3, 2013. By April 2012, the first group of 28 state primary schools will be given access to the solution. Training to teachers and administrators will initiate in Quarter 1, 2012. Every teacher will be given all the appropriate training required to be able to practise using the e-Learning solution confidently."

Mita said the government has now taken the bold decision to extend the platform to church and independent primary and secondary schools. A Call for Expression of Interest was published last week, inviting directors and heads of non-state schools to submit their interest to have access to the solution.

The government is offering to pay the initial platform and training-related capital costs involved for every non-state school, opting to use the platform. Recurrent costs and any improvements to the schools' ICT infrastructure and connectivity would need to be financed by the non-state schools.

Schools that submit their interest will be invited for further in-depth discussions to understand how Fronter's e-Learning solution supports learning and related financial implications. After such discussions, non-state schools will be able to decide whether to proceed or not with offering access to the e-Learning solution to their students, teachers, administrators and students' parents.

Non-state schools that will go ahead with offering access to the e-Learning solution will need to set up a project management team who would drive the roll out of the solution in their school with Fronter.

Interested non-state schools must submit their interest by noon of Friday 20th January, 2012 via email at [email protected].

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