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Primary school requested a whole class of students to buy iPad for e-learning, Monday June 25, 2012
Jun 25 2012, 02:54 PM
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Joined: 22-June 08
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translated by cici@Asianeu
Private elementary English school
Earlier, Department of Education allocated 50 million Hong Kong dollars to promote e-learning and curb textbook prices.
This newspaper received complaints from parents, that an St Francis of Assisi's English Primary School in Shek Kip Mei requested Grade 3 students purchase an IPAD and placed full implementation of e-learning with Grade 3 students in English and Chinese starting in September in the absence of consultation. Parents could purchase a 32GB or 64GB storage capacity at the price of 4688 and 5488 dollars respectively.
Parents criticized the school had increased parents' financial burden because computers are expensive and young students can easily damage computers. In addition, the school said it will block computer's other functions, allowing only for e-books use, but parents questioned if there was a need to.
Chancellor Liu Weiming responded that he hoped students can complete e-learning with one computer for one student, that with e-learning can strengthen teacher-student interaction in the classroom and help students for studying at home, but he stressed that school has no intention to force parents to buy.
Liu Weiming, said: "Almost all parents are middle class and they can afford. So far, only less than five parents do not want to buy." He added that if parents do not want to buy IPAD, school can lend an 32GB version IPAD on loan for 2000 dollars per year, and students can keep the IPAD after three consecutive years of rent.
Yet, the total cost of renting an IPAD is up to 6000 dollars. Electronic textbooks used in schools have same content of the paper books. Each set of each subject is about $200 HK dollars. Students do not have to have a computer can also attend class. Therefore, four years of primary school from grade three to six, paper book costs just about 1,600 dollars, equivalent to buying the iPad using the e-book of about one-third. It is therefore 28% more than buying textbooks, that is at least three times of textbooks purchase.
Education policy and Community Concerns Chairman Zhang Minbing criticized school for not taking parents difficulty into account, that schools are still in the early development of e-learning, and should first try and improve e-learning materials. He suggested that schools should purchase a small amount of tablet PCs, test e-learning in some subjects, measure teachers need and teaching support, consider security and maintenance and other issues related, and wait for e-learning to be fully developed before requiring parents to purchase appropriate equipment.
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