After months of setbacks, the second batch of India-manufactured digital textbooks have finally arrived in the British Virgin Islands.
The digital textbook programme was launched at the start of the last academic year and secondary school students in grades seven and eight were able to receive their learning devices immediately. However, there has been great difficulty in getting the device to this year’s batch of seventh-graders.
Chief Education Officer Connie George told BVI News that the delay in delivering these digital textbooks to this year’s seventh-graders was ‘unavoidable’.
In explaining the setback, George said a major natural disaster recently impacted India and, as a result, the manufacturing plant in that country had to be temporarily shut down.
Device compatibility issues
She said there were also ‘compatibility’ issues with this new batch of devices which took some time to rectify.
“It was not a delay that we could avoid because we really started the process early. Unfortunately, the whole term had passed before we actually got them. But, thankfully, we have them now so we can be up and ready to go for January,” George said in an interview on Tuesday.
“By tomorrow (Wednesday, December 5) afternoon, all students in the schools will have their device,” she said.
The Virgin Gorda based-Bregado Flax Educational Centre has received their shipment of digital textbooks and the Elmore Stoutt High School is next in line.
Asked if the delay in receiving the devices affected students’ studies, the Chief Education Officer said it “should not have” since teachers still had access to regular textbooks for that delay period.
No need to worry
The issue was brought to the fore by parents who were concerned about the months of delays of the critical learning tool, which was implemented as a substitute for traditional textbooks.
“The whole term pass and no tablet yet,” said one mother of a seventh-grader who had already paid the annual $125 fee for the device.
Chief Education Officer George has, however, assured that parents needn’t feel anxious because the Ministry of Education has every receipt from payments made by each parent.
She further assured that parents of children who are no longer in the public education system will be reimbursed.
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