Dubai’s ruler has announced around 13,000 students in UAE universities will receive iPads in a bid to improve their learning.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, launched the "Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Smart Learning" on Sunday at the Abu Dhabi Men's College, the WAM news agency reported.
The iPad scheme covered about 13,000 male and female students in the foundation stages at Zayed University, the Emirates University and the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), WAM added.
Earlier this month, Arabian Business revealed UAE’s HCT, the country’s largest higher education institution, had struck a deal with a local Apple supplier which will see UAE campuses remove paper and pens from classrooms and become the first in the region to roll out iPad-only lessons.
A source at a HCT college said returning students will receive iPads free from their colleges, but new students enrolling for the first time are required to buy new tablets from the officially designated vender.
Computer Direct Access (CDA), which is part of the Midis (MDS) Group of Companies and has offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, has been awarded the contract to supply the devices.
While iPad 3 tablets retail in the UAE at around AED2,500 ($680), a CDA salesperson confirmed students will be offered the devices at a special discount price of AED2,299 ($625). Students are allowed to use iPad 2 tablets, but CDA said these were currently out of stock.
The HCT began training teachers in the use of iPads during the summer and a staff member said all text books and teaching aids were being removed from classrooms.
A staff member claimed students would be reprimanded for continuing to use paper and pens and said there was “a lot of uncertainty from the teachers on how it's going to work.”