A few months ago, you have most probably thought that the government was just blabbering about this project of giving a tablet to each and every Form 4 student. This concerns more than 20,000 units to be distributed in some 157 secondary schools. According to the “Market Sounding Exercise” published on 10 January 2013, these devices should be of at least 8 inches touch screen and with a battery autonomy of minimum of 8 hours. Additionally, the ministry is also looking for Service Providers who need to provide internet access; a minimum of 130 connections per school. The aim of this exercise is to help in the preparation of the procurement for these devices and related services.
Why a tablet?
In the past, the government (as well as other political parties) mentioned their intention to offer a free laptop to every student. Finally, I don’t know how this laptop project got converted into a “tablet” project. Anyway, budget wise a tablet will definitely cost much less than a laptop.
Apart from the price, the tablet is definitely more portable, light-weight and can easily integrate in a classroom context. Points not to be ignored; tablets are much fragile and prone to thiefs as well as we do not have the necessary local expertise to provide technical support and after sales service. Finally, it is not a secret: Low cost tablets will definitely be of cheaper quality.
It does not surprise me that the choice for a tablet was made just to give a better impression about their vision.
Uses of a tablet
Ever since I received my Nexus 7 a few weeks ago, I literally fell in love with it. My wife will certainly agree with this; she got a serious competitor in here. Just to quote what I do with my tablet: Social networking, chatting with friends, watching YouTube movies, keeping up to date with latest news in the world, playing games and even blogging! Nowadays, I seldom switch on my desktop computer.
I won’t hide this fact; I frequently carry it to the toilet too. Afterall, why not? 😛
And what about in a classroom?
This far, I talked about the tablet only for personal use (recreational use if you wish). But this project is about introducing the tablet in schools for Form 4 students (15-16 years old).
The objectives of the government is to, I quote:
- An improved pass rate of students at Cambridge SC/GCE ‘O’ Level through a diversification of pedagogy making use of multimedia tools.
- Increase in completion rate of first cycle of Secondary Education and thereby an increase in the transition rate to upper Secondary Education and ultimately to higher education and further training.
- Better preparedness of students and Educators for 21st Century Skills
As far as I understood, they will be preparing tailored programmes as well as educational materials with the collaboration of MIE to improve and help the teaching process at this level.
You remember, MIE? Their educational channel which most students just ignore.
Good. Enough said.
I truly disagree with the government on this project. Tablets handed freely to Form 4 students will neither increase the level of education nor the quality. I can already see MOST students using the tablets for their own leisure (Like I do), not for educational purposes if ever strict rules and software modifications are not made.
The government said that they will ensure that there’s no abuse when the device is used in and out of school premises. What do they mean by “Abuse”? Watching movies, streaming videos, chatting or updating your Facebook: Do these fall in this category?
At one instance, some talked about doing presentations and school projects with the tablet. How damn are they going to do a presentation on an 8 inch tablet in a classroom? And school projects? lol.
Instead of wasting the population’s money on this far-fetched vision, the government should have :
- Improved existing facilities in colleges
- Extend opening hours of computer labs
- Provide more computers (in working conditions of course)
- Allow computer labs to be used by all, not only Computer students
- Provide free internet access for all in school premises (Use existing software to block forbidden content)
- Give better incentives and facilities for parents to purchase cheaper laptops or desktop computers.
- Decrease price of internet connection at home (The announced 256kbps internet connectivity with a limit of 2GB for Rs200/month is a joke. I might come on this in a future post)
- AND ABOVE ALL, end these tuitions and that rat race in our education system!!!
Bref, this list is not exhaustive.
If I was a Form 4 student reading this article, I would be definitely cursing the author because what probably really matters is that the government is playing Santa Claus. There are so many questions about this project, its viability and efficiency as such. Fortunately, this project is at a very early stage but I truly fear that we might soon have more tablets than youngsters with a good level of education and a white collar job.
I now invite you to express yourselves on this topic. Thank you for reading 🙂
Or to watch porn. Well, you forgot that.
Give tablet to all form 4 students *bows head in dismay*
These would be restricted most probably..
Nowadays you can have very high level of security and restrictions, the big question where will be set the limit between what is legit and what isnt..
i want my money back 😛
… removing VAT on tablets and computers and making them more affordable for the general public would have been a more applauded initiative .
The Raspberry Pi is a tiny computer that retails around £35 in the UK.
It can run many OS and can connect to a TV or monitor.
I believe the Raspberry Pi could have been the ideal give away for all college studentS.
Competely forgot about this one. If they hear you, they might change their minds :p
“Ki pou fou ar ha?”
Enn ta pé riyé for-for ar so laparanss lo-tech la.
Mé, ti kouto koup gro ziromon: Ala ki capaw ferr ar ha ti zafér la.
This so called project to improve results and all doesn’t make sense. I work in a private school. Form 4 students have 40mins for their project work, and the first thing they do when they go in the lab is open google or try to open facebook. Now having a tablet with them and also that with internet connections, I can already see the success rate of the students of SC. Instead of providing tablets .. better help educators by giving projectors,smartboards for all classrooms which for sure would make lessons more interesting, instead or reserving it for special occasions ..haha
I am not for using projectors in classrooms. It becomes more of a lecture rather than teaching. I’m telling this from my own experience
The free laptop for students fell flat after all the publicity and promises. We will see if the free tablet strategy will survive. As for it’s use, well there are some clever kids out there and no doubt the tablet is going to be diverted for games use.
Remember that nothing is free the government can not produce anything… not even worthless paper notes so tablets will be paid for a burden on the tax payers money… secondly there is no working proof that tablets will help improve the education level … Well I didnt have enough books when i studied but still i turned out to be smart apparently .. believe it or not I wish they will have a large procurement order with palms greased and thats all it is… and they are nothing more than the OBAMAPHONES in USA. we will have NAVINTABLETTES….. and they should be ashamed at all the stupid taxes we pay on all the consumer goods and durables and taxes on incomes… time for them to waste some money and pay their buddies up there the corporate honchos..
i also agree that the tablettes should be given free..they aren’t we would pay for them and they would cost a lot.
Better subsidise the cost, to democratise access to those devices which i believe is the future..
Whats the battery autonomy of a laptop? whats the battery autonomy of a tablet?
It all depends on the make/model.
For sure, the best tablets on the market can last for a whole day if used moderately. Similar for laptops most probably.
Is not really relevant:
In carrotmadman6’s article, you’ll read:
“The devices involved are Motorola Xoom tablets—used together with a solar charging system, which Ethiopian technicians had taught adults in the village to use”
After several months, the kids in both villages were still heavily engaged in using and recharging the machines, and had been observed reciting the “alphabet song,” and even spelling words.
One boy, exposed to literacy games with animal pictures, opened up a paint program and wrote the word “Lion.””
Laptops when new 4 hours apre to kone mem toi.
Et toute longue la vie, saryer charger xD
The MS ones here which also come with the option of clipping a Keyboard to it (This Keyboard give an additional charge to the tablet), you can actually use it for more than 12 hours. It all depends on the price of whats being offered. Having technology to accompany students into education is most welcome I think, but then it all depends on how and why this is being done
This is a big catch, those which last whole day cost a lot. I use my ipad extensively it last one day. yet you know the cost of the tablet.
i believe the govt, like in all tenders would go for something cost effective, 8hr battery life cannot be guaranteed, and it wont last.. so at the end of the day, you would need to have power sockets at each desk, and every student would be charging their tablets…and there goes the electicity bills of schools..
I agree with you! Enough said! xD
How many will be interested to make videos? 😛
Adding to your list of suggested improvements to the current facilities:
– making outdoor classrooms compulsory for at least once per week, weather permitting
– compulsory reading sessions – to hell with SMS language!
– compulsory attendance – absences exceeding normal to be applied as penalty on the parent’s income tax form (ha!)
– raising the quality of teachers and teaching by encouraging masters-level qualifications, regular / refresher courses abroad for all at least once every 5 years, plus of course, a significant increase in their remuneration package. Else? If you pay with peanuts, you get monkeys.
– compulsory social work and sport
– standardising school facilities: toilet cleaning, table / chair quality, classroom lighting/cleaning/air-conditioning should be uniform, especially if all pupils have to wear uniforms.
– compulsory rotation of teaching staff at the end of at most 3 years.
I stop here, I’ve got too many enemies already
carrotmadman6’s article confirms that it’s the fun part that drives creativity:
“The experiment is being done in two isolated rural villages with about 20 first-grade-aged children each, about 50 miles from Addis Ababa. (…)
Children there had never previously seen printed materials, road signs, or even packaging that had words on them, Negroponte said.
Earlier this year, OLPC workers dropped off closed boxes containing the tablets, taped shut, with no instruction.
“I thought the kids would play with the boxes.
Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off
switch and powered it up.
Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day.
Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village, and within five months, they had hacked Android,” Negroponte said.
“Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera, and they figured out the camera, and had hacked Android.”
(…) the kids had gotten around OLPC’s effort to freeze desktop settings. “The kids had completely customized the desktop—so every kids’ tablet looked different.
We had installed software to prevent them from doing that,” McNierney said. “And the fact they worked around it was clearly the kind of creativity, the kind of inquiry, the kind of discovery that we think is essential to learning.””
So, clearly, the tablets should be given to pupils, small children rather, but certainly not to grown ones. It shodl be pre-loaded with stimulating pre-school games, puzzles and what not to build their confidence and spur their curiosity.
Form IV students are too old for discovering tech things they already know about – there is no stimulus for discovery, they are (understandably) too busy discovering other hormone-fuelled pleasures of life (I guess) and socialising instead of wasting their precious time on geekery at their age.
This is a project i have been anticipating for a very long time and will definitely be working on this.
Tablets are the future and NEED to be democratised. However, i was not expecting the govt giving out tablet FOC to students.
There are more technicalities and costs involved behind handing out the tablets indeed. First of all the current education system as it is doesn’t support it. There has to be a big review of our educational system which is why this exercise needs to be done by thinkers, not politicians.
There are still lots of issues to be address, true the advent of tablet would revolutionise the education system. It will definitely develop the creativity of the students, something which we lack here. What is the point of having student with high grades that lack creativity and originality?? There are solutions out there to secure and prevent abuses, and more interestingly, there are student out there who will break this system, and those would definitely go far.
i have been using an ipad for about 7 months now, and prior to this was using a samsung galaxy tab, i use it for Work, Study and Play. and quite frankly this is the best tool ever. I got my nephews, Std 6 to F4 all have a Android smartphone, true they use the phone a lot for games, i was quite astonished to see how much they also learned. Of course, i am not talking formal classroom learning, but hey, they know what is going on around the world..in my time, apart from TV i had no source of information..and quite frankly i didnt like reading newspapers..the first one who says the contrary is a douche..
I believe, very strongly, we just need some modifications..education need to change, it has to be visual, it has to be colourful, most importantly, it has to be fun, this would not be accomplished with giving out tablets FOC, but we have to rework the whole educational system.
And yes the critical technical issues which need to be flagged and addressed prior to rolling out of this project. This project will definitely cost a lot, L O T ; not only in terms of tablet, but also in terms of side effects that it will create..and some lucky bastards, most likely related to politicians, will hit the jackpot..
no its ridiculous!! I mean the only good thing is the decrease in all the paper load in the form of copybooks and crap that they have to bring! and like someone said.. yeah it will be porntime or series time at school all day long. I think that the first thing they should have done was to move towards a better e-learning concept whereby students would be able to access notes and material through a website and where they could submit their work too with deadlines and all the crap. I personally dont know anyone without a computer and an internet access to be fair. but some might say that there are people like that.. well.. libraries should be equipped with better computers and facilities to allow students to do their work there and have longer opening hours. I do not thnk this is the role of the government to offer free gadgets to students althought this has been a political propaganda and will still be,..lets face it.. these are serious winning strategies… and we cant blame the govt for that.. give to the people what the people want after all. mais im damn serious with a proper e learning package and implementation.no its ridiculous!! I mean the only good thing is the decrease in all the paper load in the form of copybooks and crap that they have to bring! and like someone said.. yeah it will be porntime or series time at school all day long. I think that the first thing they should have done was to move towards a better e-learning concept whereby students would be able to access notes and material through a website and where they could submit their work too with deadlines and all the crap. I personally dont know anyone without a computer and an internet access to be fair. but some might say that there are people like that.. well.. libraries should be equipped with better computers and facilities to allow students to do their work there and have longer opening hours. I do not thnk this is the role of the government to offer free gadgets to students althought this has been a political propaganda and will still be,..lets face it.. these are serious winning strategies… and we cant blame the govt for that.. give to the people what the people want after all. mais im damn serious with a proper e learning package and implementation.
“As far as I understood, they will be preparing tailored programmes as
well as educational materials with the collaboration of MIE to improve
and help the teaching process at this level.
You remember, MIE? Their educational channel which most students just ignore.”
You might be confusing the MIE with the MCA – or the OUM as we currently know it.
far as how the tablet is going to be financed, I think that the
government might be getting the funds from the UNESCO (maybe?) as part
of the Education for All programme (EFA).
aster tablet gratuit… a b ki sana pou paye tou sala hein!!!!???? Arrrgggggg
The tender for tablets is still open I think – have been launched this year itself (hope i read it right on the newspapers). But rumours say that the contract has already been allocated to someone in Triolet …
Just wanted to know, if anyone knows, will students be allowed to take the tablets at home ? Will they own it or should they return the tablet at the end of the academic year ? If they own it, will the government buy new tablets for form 4 students in 2014 ?
Any thoughts ?
will we have to return it
Nothing has been said about this. Let’s wait and see…
people are really missing food in vallee pitot. My friend went to distribute food there and the govt is busy thinking about form 4 students who will be wasting their time on facebook and watching movies.
There is no guarantee that those kids will change their way of studying. This won’t boost creativity neither because remember our old parents when they went to school on bicycle from grand baie to port louis who cleared all subjects with almost A Grades 🙂
You might be right those disagreeing but certainly not all students would use it for recreational purposes an example if ever a student have no mean of access to today world of technology at early age tomorrow he might bee at loss when going in search for a job as for the tablets,At my Secondary school, I have some friends who don’t even have a PC at home even in IT class they never are able to complete any simple assessment due to lack of basic skills So for these students a tablet is going to be of great use ~~~ Just telling you all that i am not siding to gvernment side because of lack of trust and also i am agreeing with the fact that many students are going to have fun with it so i am neutral about that issue
I can’t disagree with you. There are indeed people in real need. Instead of spending money on those tablets to give to those rich guys, the government could target those people in real need and offer desktop pcs to them for example. Or give even better facilities so that anyone can afford one.
But no. They are giving away tablets to EVERYONE!
btw, thank you for voicing out this point 🙂
No prob as i said i am neutral and only pointed out my thoughts