E-reader or tablet computer? – That is the question on the tips of the educators across Barbados today.
By the beginning of the school year in September 2014, all 22 secondary schools, which would normally issue around two dozen textbooks to each child, will issue an e-reader with all of the necessary textbooks on the unit. Presuming that each of the textbooks can be purchased less expensively than buying the printed variety, the ongoing saving should be significant, especially in a country that provides all of its education for free.
E-readers cost a lot less than they used to, so by purchasing this many at once, they should be able to acquire them at a good price.
There will be a worry that e-readers might get stolen from the students, but if every student is loaned an e-reader from their school, there isn’t any point in trying to steal a unit from one person to sell to another. There will, however, become a question of responsibility and if a student loses their e-reader, will they be expected to replace it, especially at times of recession? Schools may need to pay for insurance to cover the e-readers.
Some people will argue that a tablet computer would be much more useful for all of the children as they would be able to surf the Internet as part of their educational needs and the technology can be arranged in such a way that certain websites can be blocked so they don’t venture into the wrong areas while surfing. The current cost may be prohibitive.
The 100+ primary schools will be watching the situation very closely, because they will demand a similar situation for their students, as soon as possible.
The Ministry of Education should be applauded for this initiative, making Barbados’ schools rank high in its technological exploits, which helps students plan for a computer literate future.