The National Audit Office (NAO) has issued a new Information Technology (IT) audit report on the effective use of tablets in State, Church and Independent Primary schools. The principal aim of this report was to review the implementation of the One Tablet Per Child (OTPC) project, essentially the use of tablets by the students and their educators, the digital content available, and the level of training and support provided.
The audit included two separate surveys conducted by the NAO amongst educators and parents of the students who were provided with tablets, on various aspects of the OTPC scheme. The main findings of this IT audit included, amongst others, the following:
- Analysis of the survey results showed that the tablets were not
uniformly utilised across all schools and/or school types, specifically:
- Almost a fifth of replies from educators indicated that the students did not take the tablets to school every day while replies from teachers showed that these devices were only used when an activity was planned.
- Tablet usage was irregularly spread across all academic subjects.
- Over half of replies from participating educators showed that these devices were not used on educational outings organised by the school. Similarly, survey results indicated that most students did not use tablets during family outings.
- Tablet usage at home was varied and uneven.
- Maths and English apps were rated highly by both participating teachers and parents, however, apps for Maltese, Science, Social Studies and Religion, obtained lower ratings.
- The audit highlighted the following issues impacting the use of
- Students not taking their tablet to school;
- Students not charging their tablet at home;
- Connectivity issues relating to the school network/Wi-Fi infrastructure (primarily in non-state schools); and
- Hardware issues, mainly relating to Wi-Fi, battery and slow performance.
- The audit indicated that the support services provided by the Directorate for Digital Literacy and Transversal Skills of the Ministry for Education and Employment, where not available to the same extent across State and non-State primary schools.
Considering the outcomes of the surveys, the overall view of the scheme by the teachers and parents was generally positive since over 70% of all respondents considered the tablets to have helped the students in their learning journey.