Free iPads for nearly 50,000 school pupils in Glasgow

  • Published
iPadsImage source, Getty Images

Nearly 50,000 school children in Glasgow are to get their own iPad to help with lessons.

The project will see every pupil from P6 to S6 given their own device to keep, while all other pupils will have shared access to the Apple tablet.

Faster internet connections and installing wi-fi in every classroom is also part of the initiative.

The iPad rollout is part of a seven-year deal between Glasgow City Council and Canadian IT firm CGI.

The entire deal is worth in excess of £300m but the council said it was not possible to break down the cost of the iPad project.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
By 2021 every Glasgow primary and secondary teacher and their pupils will have access to an iPad

A number of local authorities have already given, or have plans to give, secondary pupils free iPads including Edinburgh, the Scottish Borders and Perth and Kinross.

Councillor Chris Cunningham, Glasgow City Council's education convener, said the move was about helping pupils embrace the digital age, improve learning and help close the attainment gap.

He added: "We want our children and young people to be equipped with the skills that will make them shine as digital citizens both now and later in their working lives.

"We are aware that 90% of jobs in Scotland involve digital work and so our pupils will be well equipped for the workplace.

"I know that this project will result in raising attainment and achievement in every one of our schools and nurseries."

How does the scheme work?

All of the iPads will be tracked and managed by the council, which can lock, erase or render the devices inoperable remotely.

Pupils can access the internet, but not any social media sites, and the council says its firewall will block any inappropriate sites.

The iPad is the responsibility of the child and if it is lost, damaged or stolen then the pupil will need to contact the school immediately.

There is some some contingency for lost iPads but Glasgow City Council says it is stressing to young people that the iPads are their responsibility and that the initial rollout has encountered few problems in this regard.

Pupils will continue to use books and jotters in class in addition to the tablets.

The project has already been tested at a number of primary and secondary schools across Glasgow and the full rollout will be completed by 2021.

This will see 47,100 student iPads and 4,900 teacher iPads handed out.

With the additional shared devices for nursery and younger primary pupils, it is estimated that 70,000 children will benefit from the what is described as the biggest Apple education project in Europe.

Justene Ewing, vice president of consulting services at CGI, said: "The rollout will help free up teachers and boost their control of the learning process, while also improving inclusivity for students in the educational process."