Students from 21 public elementary and high schools in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, have been given iPads as part of the e-schoolbag pilot project, reported the Nanjing-based Modern Express Tuesday.
It is hoped the iPads, paid for by the schools, will reduce students' stress by making their schoolbags lighter, as well as making their classes more interesting, according to the local news portal jschina.com.cn.
The news site said not all students at the 21 schools are included in the pilot program, but did not indicate how many students had been given free iPads.
Students attending an international studies class at the Jinling High School are using their iPads to prepare for their SAT tests in the hope of being accepted by a university in the US.
A teacher said that the iPads have helped students save book fees as it only cost the students 200 yuan ($31.65) to download all their course materials. The price of their e-books is only one tenth of the paper version.
While an iPad weighs less than 700 grams, the students' textbooks can weigh more than 5 kilograms.
"The school has set restrictions on the iPads so students cannot access renren.com and QQ, popular social networking sites," another teacher was quoted in Modern Express as saying.
The money used to purchase the iPads came from the students' book fees and a special fund.
None of the schools could be reached by the Global Times as of late Tuesday.
Hongguang Junior High School, another school in the project, was reported to have paid for the iPads that were handed out free to the students.
A school in Huangpu district in Shanghai provided iPads for free to their students last year, while another school in the city has asked students to bring their own iPads to class this semester, reported the Shanghai Morning Post.
"It is impossible for all schools to fund the purchase of iPads for all students. I hope education authorities will support students who cannot afford the gadget to make sure that they are given equal access to the new educational device," Lei Tingting, a teacher from Shanghai Nanyang Model School, told the Global Times.
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