School asks parents to buy Dh2,000 tablet

The parent community of a school in Dubai is upset with the school management for forcing them into buying a Dh2,000 tablet, which they claim display technical glitches.

"We have had students claiming it 'hangs' and doesn't 'sign on' despite numerous attempts," says a parent of a third grader, requesting anonymity.

It is not just the quality of the brand, but also the pricing that the parents are objecting to.

The Indian curriculum high school introduced the Intel Educational tablet this year, urging parents to pick it up for Dh2,000 (includes warranty and insurance).

While some schools in Dubai allow parents to send devices they already own, the leading Indian school reportedly disallows students to bring tablets that aren't recommended by them. The school CEO did not respond to repeated queries from Emirates 24|7.

However, Mohammed Darwish, Chief of Regulations and Compliance Commission at Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), said in an e-mail statement to Emirates24|7,  "Tablets are valuable educational tools that enrich students' learning experiences. If listed as an optional fee, parents then have the choice to obtain all educational resources from a source of their choice."

Parents claim there are gadgets with better specs available. "We already own an iPad, but we aren't allowed to send it in. Now, we have to spend an additional Dh2,000 for a new tab," said another parent (who did not wish to be named), adding, "This is unfair."

While the school has not made the purchase "mandatory", many parents say they are forced to buy it because they do not want their children to feel left out. "There is peer pressure," the parent added.

"Introducing tablets for third graders isn't necessary. We are struggling to control our child's screen time, but this new system will counter that," another parent of a third grader said.

In fact, parents (of third graders) have come forward, and listed out a few pointers for the management. "The kids need to be physically and emotionally mature enough to handle such kind of a learning aid at an appropriate age, which according to a lot of research and surveys is not less than grade 6," they say.

"They are not mature enough to manage such an expensive item on daily basis. We have parents in our group who have experienced the same with Grade 5 and 7 kids."

The money factor is a concern, with parents highlighting how tabs with better specs for lower cost are available in the market.