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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 October 23 - 29  > Saga Pref. to have high school students buy tablet PCs
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2013 October 23 - 29 [EDUCATION]

Saga Pref. to have high school students buy tablet PCs

October 29, 2013
Concerns among parents are increasing over Saga Prefecture’s plan to have all public high school students purchase a tablet computer starting next school year.

According to the prefectural board of education, digital study materials and dictionaries will be installed in the tablets. The board argues that it allows for the utilization of many advantages in the education program using ICT (Information and Communication Technology), such as for students to work on assignments at their own level and for teachers to manage students’ study records.

Expecting that the price of the tablet, which will be determined in competitive bidding, will be more than 50,000 yen, the education board announced in early September that it will have students pay 50,000 yen while the prefecture will cover any additional cost.

In response to the announcement, the prefectural assembly this month passed a supplementary budget of 200 million yen to provide 30,000 yen each to 6,800 students to buy a tablet based on its assumption that the price would be 80,000 yen. All prefectural assembly members except a Japanese Communist Party representative approved the budget.

Many parents have raised questions about the plan since it was announced. The prefectural public high school teachers’ union demanded that the government provide the new devices for free to evening high school students and students with financial difficulty.

“We finally achieved a tuition-free program for public high school students and hope that this will cover their study materials as well. To ask them to pay 50,000 yen for a required study device defeats this achievement,” said an official of the union.

Ureshino City Assembly in Saga on September 17 unanimously adopted a statement to demand the withdrawal of the directive for the forcible purchase of the tablet device. The prefectural liaison council of PTAs called on the education board to convene explanatory meetings to respond to parents’ questions and concerns.

JCP Prefectural Assembly member Muto Akemi said, “If the prefecture wants to promote education using ICT, it should purchase the devices. We will push it to do so jointly with parents and teachers.”
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