Students slow to log on to e-books

MINISTER of Education Fayval Williams has expressed disappointment at the lack of take-up of the electronic books (e-books) by students across the public school system.

The ministry has spent $158 million for e-books this year but the use by students has been lower than anticipated.

“Ever since I came to the Ministry of Education and Youth one of the things that parents and others have clamoured for is e-books. At the time we didn’t have them and it seemed as if we were way behind in not having e-books,” Williams told a post-Cabinet media briefing at Jamaica House on Wednesday.

“We allocated resources to e-books, we sent out information to our schools with regards to the licences, how to download the licences. We worked with our schools, because they are the ones who identified the students who are able to use the e-books, because you have to have a device. So it is not as if we blindly sent out the e-books to the schools.

“But when we checked — because we are able to see who has downloaded and who has not — the adoption rate is disappointing,” added Williams.

She told the media briefing that the education ministry is to embark on a push to increase the use of the e-books with a public relations campaign and sensitisation sessions with students.

Williams reiterated that students only need to download the e-books once as after that they can access the books for the entire year, even when they are not online.

“We want to encourage our children to avail themselves of this; for one, it is way cheaper than the paper textbooks, so that means more of our students can have access to textbooks,” said Williams as she urged parents to enquire about the e-books and to help their children access them.

So far the education ministry has acquired licences for 51,988 English language e-books for grades 7-11, 15,808 integrated science e-books for grades 7-9, 2,500 principles of accounts for grades 10-11, and 1,500 principles of business also for grades 10-11.