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Tablets Pilot Project launched

Reference Number:  , Press Release Issue Date: Jan 08, 2014
 
The ‘One Tablet per Child’ pilot project was launched this morning during a press conference by the Minister for Education and Employment, Evarist Bartolo, in which the details of the pilot project for the introduction of computer tablets in primary schools were explained.

An expression of interest was published today for interested parties from the private sector to offer their solutions for evaluation in the pilot project. The aim is to test different types of hardware and software and make evaluations based on feedback from educators and students.
 
Educators, not students, will be the first to try out the different tablets starting from March 2014 while students in schools taking part in the pilot project will utilise tablets from October 2014. The pilot projects is expected to end in March 2015 and then, after an evaluation of the pilots, the procurement of the tablets for Year 4 students on a national level will take place.

The pilot project’s aims are to evaluate and trial the different approaches the Government has to choose from in light of changing technologies
, as well as the fact that the technological tool itself is cutting edge, and therefore still in the early stages of use in the educational sector. The outcome of these pilots will provide a clear picture of what works best in the Maltese context and allow the Ministry to be better prepared for the procurement of tablets for the ‘One Tablet per Child’ proposal on a national level.

The priority will not be just the hardware; the software aspect of the proposal is also crucial. In the pilot project the Government will also make sure that schools are well-equipped to meet infrastructural needs, such as having a good internet connection and electrical charging points. The Ministry is already
in discussions with MITA on the technical needs of this initiative.

The number of schools and students taking part in the pilot
project phase will depend on the number of private companies that submit an interest in the call. Each company submitting an interest will be asked to equip at least one primary class with its chosen tablet for the duration of the project. A call will be issued soon to teachers in state primary classrooms to volunteer to take part in the pilot projects.
 
The Department for eLearning, within the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education, is responsible for the implementation of this project.

During the press conference, the Minister for Education and Employment, Evarist Bartolo, said that the introduction of tablets in schools needed to be well-planned to allow
educators to familiarise themselves with the technology in a classroom context. He emphasised that this is an educational project, rather than simply a technological one, with the clear goals of promoting literacy skills, numeracy skills and digital literacy.

Minister Bartolo emphasised that the pilot project, and the eventual full implementation of the ‘One Tablet per Child’ proposal, would be done in collaboration with the Malta Union of Teachers.
The MUT was consulted during the preparation for the call for pilot projects and the union agreed in principle on holding such projects. The Ministry considers the MUT a partner in the national implementation of the tablet proposal and as a result regular talks will be held with the union on this initiative.
Details for this call can be found on www.education.gov.mt or the next issue of the Government Gazzette.