PL pledges free tablet for all Year 4 students
A new PL government will be giving a tablet to each Year 4 student in all local schools in its fight against the digital divide and illiteracy.
The Labour Party this morning pledged that around 4000 children attending public, private and church schools will each receive a tablet which they keep for educational and personal use, without any means tests being applied. The proposal will cost the government around €1.5 million. A 'Tablet per Child Fund' will be set up with the aim of spurring the private sector to get involved in the country's education system and be part of generating a higher level of IT competence amongst children..
Such an approach has been proposed after considering the policies of other EU countries which have applied the same proposal and gave tablets to students at times even before they reach Year 4. Dr Muscat explained the reason for choosing Year 4 students is because they are at the age where they begin to develop IT skills, however did not exclude the possibility of extending this policy in the future..
Together with this proposal, the PL will be further empowering teachers and educators to better fight illiteracy and raise the country’s standards of education. A PL government will also strengthen school libraries to help improve the literacy rate adding that no drastic changes will be made to the Maltese education system, but rather that the PL would build upon what already exists.
PL candidate Evarist Bartolo explained that the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) placed Malta's literacy rate in the lowest group, meaning that Malta is below average. In addition, he explained that literacy doesn't only refer to someone's ability to read, but also to their IT knowledge. In accordance with this, the PL leader proposed the modernisation of the Central Library,
When asked about stipends, Dr Muscat argued that they will not touch the scheme regretting the decision Labour made in 1996.