Education Ministry, Digital Technologies sign $223M contract

The new school year will see children in almost 70 secondary schools using newly installed computers in their new or upgraded computer laboratories.This comes after the signing of a $223M contract between the Ministry of Education and Digital Technologies yesterday morning at the Ministry’s boardroom. The contract calls for the company to deliver 1400 desktop workstations, 64 servers, 64 overhead projectors, 300 uninterrupted power supply (UPS) units and an unspecified number of printers.

The relatively unknown Digital Technologies whose office address is listed as 54 Public Road, Grove, EBD came on the scene just a few weeks ago when it entered a bid for the Government’s One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) Programme.
Bids for the supply of the laptops came from Giftland Office Max, Digital Technologies, and CCS. Of the three, only CCS measured up, though, not satisfying all the requirements.

Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, said on that occasion that the government decided not to give CCS the contract, and instead moved to re-tender.
This time around Digital Technologies came up against three computer suppliers in the bidding process. CCS Guyana Ltd bid $240M; Netcom Computer City bid $332M and NT Computec, $225M.

Signing the contract for the company this morning was Chief Executive Officer of the company, Terrence Sukhu.
Bids for the project were opened on June 14 and got Cabinet’s no objection last week, paving the way for the contract signing yesterday.
According to Minister of Education Shaik Baksh such haste is a result of the Ministry’s push to see this project completed in time for the 2011/2012 academic year.
According to Baksh, one of the contract conditions is the provision of a three-year warranty to be provided by Digital Technologies which will see the company providing maintenance services for some 1,400 computers, 64 servers and associated peripherals.
Baksh said that the computers will find their homes in laboratories that have either been constructed or refurbished by the Ministry of Education in at least 50 schools. Meanwhile the existing computer labs for some 20 schools across the country will be upgraded.
The Minister pointed out that the distribution of computers is spread out among all the regions.
Northwest Secondary School in Region One, Charity Secondary School in Region Two, Leguan Secondary School in Region Three, Fort Wellington and St. Cuthbert’s Secondary in Region Five, BlackBush Polder Secondary School in Region Six along with the New Amsterdam Secondary Schools, St. Ignatius Secondary in Region Nine, as well as schools in Regions Seven and Ten and several schools throughout Region Four and Georgetown all stand to benefit from the initiative.
Baksh stated that the project is a part of the Ministry’s Strategic Plan’s ICT component; ICT being the acronym for Information and Communication Technology. But he claimed that the initiative supersedes the education sector and plays a role in the larger ICT strategy of the Government.
He pointed out that the project is in keeping with the Ministry’s support of the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) Programme since it will see the children passing their knowledge on to their families and there are plans underway for the government to use several of the schools as training hubs for the OLPF programme.
Minister Baksh was adamant that this project and the Government’s OLPF are two separate and distinct projects although complementary in nature. What the two programmes do have in common is the fact that Digital Technologies has bid on both of them and while their bid to supply the OLPF programme was turned down, it would appear the company got it right this time around.

Published by: Kaieteur News
Date: 2011/07/14

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