Min­istry, MUT say teach­ers have been trained ahead of De­cem­ber tablets roll­out

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Neil Camil­leri

Year 4 teach­ers, who will start us­ing tablet com­put­ers in their class­rooms as from De­cem­ber, have al­ready re­ceived train­ing on the de­vices and will be backed by on­go­ing in­for­ma­tion and as­sis­tance, ac­cord­ing to the Malta Union of Teach­ers (MUT) and the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry.

The Malta In­de­pen­dent had re­ceived re­ports that Year 4 teach­ers had been left in the dark about the in­tro­duc­tion of tablets in the near fu­ture, but the MUT said it has no is­sues re­gard­ing the roll­out, which is planned for De­cem­ber.

“Ini­tial train­ing for teach­ers on the use of tablets was held dur­ing three Inset days in Septem­ber. Teach­ers al­ready have the tablets, with the main ap­pli­ca­tions that will be used with stu­dents al­ready in­stalled. The Union is in­formed that this fa­mil­iari­sa­tion pe­riod will be backed by on­go­ing in­for­ma­tion and as­sis­tance pro­vided by the e-learn­ing depart­ment in the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry. The Union cur­rently has no is­sues re­gard­ing this im­ple­men­ta­tion phase,” ac­cord­ing to the MUT spokesper­son.

The Union re­it­er­ated that tablets will not be used un­til a me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing is signed in De­cem­ber. Un­til then they will be used only for train­ing and fa­mil­iari­sa­tion.

In com­ments to this news­pa­per, the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry said the roll-out of tablets to all state and non-state Year 4 stu­dents will take place in De­cem­ber. “As agreed with the MUT, teach­ers will have an ac­cli­ma­ti­sa­tion pe­riod prior to the ac­tual roll-out to the stu­dents in De­cem­ber. Ne­go­ti­a­tions on the MOU are on­go­ing.”

The Min­istry also said train­ing to all the teach­ers who will be di­rectly in­volved in this project was pro­vided on 16, 19 and 20 Septem­ber.

Mean­while, the Min­istry has quashed ru­mours of ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the award of the con­tract for the tablets. The €9 mil­lion con­tract was awarded to Avan­tis Sys­tems Ltd of the UK, which will be pro­vid­ing 15,750 Learn­pad brand tablets. The de­vices will be handed out to Year 4 stu­dents in this year and the next two scholas­tic years. The ‘One tablet per child’ ini­tia­tive is 80 per cent funded by the EU.

Re­act­ing to claims that the win­ning bid­der had not sub­mit­ted the cheap­est of­fer, the Min­istry said there had been five bids, three of which were deemed to be ‘tech­ni­cally non­com­pli­ant.’ The two short­listed bids were re­ceived from Ad­van­tis and SG So­lu­tions Ltd, but the for­mer was deemed to be the ‘most eco­nom­i­cally ad­van­ta­geous’. The Min­istry pointed out that all this in­for­ma­tion is pub­licly avail­able on the gov­ern­ment ten­ders web­site.

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