Maintenance and retrofitting of schools

Once in awhile there are things that jump right out in my mind like an iceberg. That makes me livid. There is an iPad and computer movement going on in Jamaican schools and I’m all in favour if they are going to improve the math and science skills of children to create codes for apps and become smart techies.

If that’s not the designed outcome, it’s outrageous to think only driven websites for reading will get the job done.

You don’t need a big college degree to see that the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM) initiative to distribute 30,000 tablets to students in primary and secondary schools will fail miserably. It will do nothing to the common core of issues some of the under-performing schools have identified to the Ministry of Education.

What do these people know about Samsung Galaxy and Android tablets other than Apple or Mac computer tablets have similar features and that it will cost a lot of funds for the pilot programme to purchase so many. Why didn’t they apply taxpayers’ money to do some construction work? It would employ a lot of people to fix from busted toilets to cracked walls, and get them off the streets for a change showing up to a job every day. So will it be a part of the setup for the kids to go home with the tablets they get and do God knows what with them just engaging with a screen? When schools are running out of chalks and using wet clothes for dusters.

  

I noticed the temporary classrooms, missing windows, inactive water fountains, missing lighting fixtures, lean chairs and rotting benches, leaking roofs, black mold, rats that will kick off allergies and illnesses as a student of a public school. I would take all day making a long list of all the problems that need urgent attention. Well tablets seem like it will fix all the problems. While we are on cruise control about tech development; air pollution, water hazards, paint, mold and text books full of worms are getting out of control. To go along with that I know people far more tech savvy than I am who are not considerably smarter. Wouldn’t it be better to get updated text books for the schools instead? Consider this perspective, neither you or me know how much money will be spent to maintain these tablets exactly. It’s very insulting to see ‘penis in vagina’, ganja spliffs and other graffiti on walls of schools. They are a part of the magnitude of problems needed to be focused on and are just some of the ways schools are failing children.

tablets in Jamaican schools thousandsAround here I can speak for the school I use to attend and the other graphic pictures of school buildings in and around my community. This pilot project is just another political stunt done for headlines because there wasn’t any evaluation done. These Jamaican politicians are accustomed to people feeling like they can get away with anything. There is not one study I found to support the move that putting tablets in kids’ hands will make them smarter.

It’s pretty much extravagant for schools that cannot maintain their building structures to add tablets as ways to improve the abilities of children to learn. Who is going to update the software on these tablets? Who are the salesmen behind the venture making a commission, pitching it to the government? Who is the person running this project? What about the public oversight committee? How much will it cost for the annual contract to update the software? How much will it cost to replace cracked screens and outdated tablets for every generation? Did anyone go to the teachers, principals and parents to get their opinion? Does a Play Station, Super Nintendo or Xbox improve kids’ IQ too?

Call them up at this Telephone number: (876) 929-8990 -9 and ask about the Vanity Fair project using the questions above and see how they wiggle out of the fundamental points I just raised.

Hopefully this article via the Jamaica Observer will bring you up to speed.

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/37-schools-to-get-tablet-computers-by-May-June–state-minister-says

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