Photo: Jernej Furman/Flickr. Teachers' tools of the trade are being updated, but the message remains the same.

KINGSTON, Jamaica–September 29th, 2020–E-Learning Jamaica Limited (eLJam) has reported that the distribution of more than 20,000 computer tablets to the nation’s teachers under the government’s Tablets for Teachers program is complete.

“As of September, we have completed the primary distribution of tablets to teachers. We commenced rollout a couple of months ago and the objective was to provide 25,000 tablets to the teachers of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association. This was in keeping with a government agreement made in 2018,” Chief Executive Officer of eLJam, Keith Smith, told JIS News.

The agreement allowed for registered teachers, as of May 2018, to be provided with a tablet for their personal use, which could also be used for curricular support.

“Over the last two months, the team has been busy along with our distribution partners, Jamaica Post, and we have delivered 21,000 tablets to teachers island-wide,” he said.

Mr. Smith noted that there is currently an appeal process where more than 3,000 teachers have indicated that they may be eligible to receive a tablet under the program, but have not yet done so.

“We are currently reviewing these applications and we expect to complete this within the next four to six weeks where a decision will be made on each case,” he said.

Mr. Smith highlighted that the responses from the teachers have been positive, despite the delays brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The devices work perfectly and came a time when the education system is vested in information and communications technology more than ever. It was a pleasure executing this program on behalf of the Government,” he said.

Exactly what kind of tablets these are, or how the tablets will be used by teachers to improve their teaching was not made clear in today’s announcement. Typically it is difficult to type on tablets, although some high-end models also come with keyboards. Nor was it explained what software programs were involved, or whether wi-fi will be available in all schools or whether the teachers will be expected to provide their own hookups to the internet at home.