Quebec gets 21,500 more computers for students using distanced education

Rachel Kilgour, 10, of Ottawa uses a laptop in a handout photo. Her mother Megan Kilgour is planning to homeschool this September because she’s unhappy with Ontario’s back to school plan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Megan Kilgour MANDATORY CREDIT

The Ministry of Education announced Wednesday that it is making 21,500 additional Chromebook-type laptops available for the Quebec school network.

(French) School service centres and (English) school boards whose computer inventory cannot provide for students to support their distanced learning during the COVID-19 crisis will be able to make a request for additional computer equipment.

The equipment is primarily intended for students who do not have access to computers or who do not have exclusive use of them and who are in Secondary 3, 4, or 5.

Students who are disabled or who have learning difficulties will be served as a priority, as will preschool, elementary and secondary students with vulnerability factors that may influence their learning, success, behaviour and socialization.

In May, the Ministry of Education estimated that there were nearly 80,000 students who did not have access to the equipment necessary to continue their distance learning.

The ministry says that to date, the stock of computer equipment has enabled nearly 10,400 students to have access to computer equipment, whether it is a laptop or a tablet. Since the start of the school year, the network has acquired more than 213,000 devices, representing an investment of more than $105 million.

Last August, the Quebec government announced the establishment of an emergency computer equipment reserve of 30,000 devices.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2020.

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