FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has invested $860,000 towards the acquisition of 1,000 iPads with data plans, 500 laptops and 300 MiFi Hubs to support home learning by providing students in need with access to devices and internet services.

“While I am incredibly proud of the excellent work our educators have undertaken to support home learning, we recognize this learning model has left some students at a disadvantage,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “In an attempt to provide more equitable access to home learning options, these devices will be loaned to students for the coming months. These measures will support home learning and help families stay connected.”

As part of the Continuity of Learning Plan, the anglophone and francophone sectors have each developed delivery plans and supporting materials that reflect their unique approaches and correspond with their curricular outcomes. Each sector has secured technology to support these delivery plans and associated home learning options.

Over the past month, the department has been working with school districts and teachers throughout the province. Each family has been contacted, and a survey conducted, to learn what technology is available to each student at home.

The new devices, along with existing school and district technology resources, will be distributed to students who require these tools to complete their home learning options. MiFi Hubs will be available for students who do not have access to the internet at home.

“These devices will help students continue to learn from home, and also provide families of limited means the ability to stay up to date with information from the provincial government as we live through this pandemic,” said Cardy.

Distribution of the devices to families will be co-ordinated through the schools in the coming weeks as students pick up their personal belongings. Students will be expected to return the loaned devices at a specified date.