As the number of tablets continues to grow in education, news has emerged that Lebanon, the country in the Middle East with a population of around four million people, plans to push 15,000 affordable tablets to public school students in the near future.
The country’s telecoms minister Nicholas Sehnaoui and education minister Hassan Diab outlined Lebanon’s vision for using tablets in schools, with Diab hopeful of providing every public school pupil with a tablet PC by 2014.
Despite this optimism, Sehnaoui has admitted that the country will first launch an international tender for procuring the devices, a deal which they hope to tie up by the middle of next month, in order to sell affordable tablets to 6-18 year old students at a subsidized price.
The government is also liaising closely with the country’s Central Bank to offer interest free loans to the students, so that they can pay for the tablets – through instalments – over a two-year period.
The tablets will feature both WiFi and 3G connectivity and although further specification details are not known as this time, it is thought that telecom operators Alfa and MTC Touch will subsidize 3G subscription rates for the tablet users. The first slates are expected to go on sale to school students in September.
Sehnaoui said that the country is pushing ahead with tablets in a bid to boost the Lebanese economy. “Increasing mobile broadband penetration rates by 10% would boost the economic growth by 1%”, said the minister, when speaking to The Daily Star.