A major property management company and one of Atlantic Canada's largest seafood suppliers are teaming up with the province of Nova Scotia to supply Grade 7 students at four schools with tablets next year.
Close to 300 students in Grade 7, along with their math teachers, will receive tablets for the school year as part of a pilot project courtesy of Southwest Properties and Clearwater Seafoods Ltd.
"I think that if Nova Scotians are better educated it makes this a way better place to do business, not just for the people who we're searching for to join our company but for the entire economy," said Jim Spatz, the CEO of Southwest Properties.
The four schools selected for the pilot project are from the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board, the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, the Halifax Regional School Board and the South Shore Regional School Board.
The students, families and teachers involved in the project will be given tablets, technical support and information on digital citizenship.
Spatz said he and John Risley — the president and CEO of Clearwater Fine Foods Inc. — got the idea while they were both attending a course at Harvard University.
They took their suggestion to Premier Darrell Dexter in the spring and Spatz said he was surprised at how quickly the province moved forward with their idea.
"You could say that education is the job of our tax money but whose job is it to make sure that our system is as good as it can be?" he said.
"I think it's all our jobs, actually."
The cost of the pilot project, worth about $1 million, is being split equally by the two businesses and the province of Nova Scotia.
Jacob Beaton, a Grade 6 student at Oxford School in Halifax who will receive one of the tablets next year, said he's excited about the idea.
"It's really awesome to know that you're probably going to be getting one of these devices to own for the school year and bring home after school and the evening," he said.
"Just using them for fun math games and going on Khan Academy and watching outcome videos of certain outcomes and just trying to up your grades."