Ministry, MUT say teachers have been trained ahead of December tablets rollout
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 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 claims 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 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% 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 non-compliant.’ 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.