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Sehnaoui inks deal to provide low-cost tablets

Sehnaoui and Davies shake hands after signing an agreement to provide low-cost tablets to students in Lebanon.

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s telecommunications minister signed a memorandum of understanding with leading firm Intel to provide low-cost tablet computers to Lebanese public school students. “The project aims to create multifaceted educational solutions and lay the foundation for long-term added value economic projects that will boost growth,” Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui said at the signing ceremony held at recently opened technology center Beirut Digital District.

Sehnaoui renewed the government’s commitment to bolstering Lebanon’s digital economy.

“We aspire to make digital economy a main foundation for Lebanon and attract [investments] from international companies,” he added.

Education Minister Hassan Diab said his ministry retain 1,500 tablets, which would later be presented as gifts to students in public schools.

“Experiences in using tablet computers, already implemented in some public high schools, have shown great benefit and reflected very positively on learning experiences,” he said.

John Davies, vice president and general manager of Intel’s World Ahead Program, said the technology company was committed to improve access to education and technology particularly in the MENA region.

“We hope to provide Lebanese students with 21st century skills and give them the tools they need to succeed in global economy, where competition is extreme,” he said.

Davies added that the initiative would contribute in increasing access to the internet in Lebanon.

According to a press release, the tablets would include comprehensive educational materials, allow 3G Internet connectivity and provide youth with a Intel business mentorship program.

The agreement is part of an initiative launched in May aiming to provide 15,000 tablet computers to public schools. The tablets will be made available to high school students between the ages of 6 and 18 at discounted prices.

The Central Bank has already pledged interest-free loans, allowing students to pay in installments over two years.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 20, 2012, on page 4.

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