Class 8 students and teachers have to wait another three months to receive the tablet computers (tabs) promised by the Andhra Pradesh government.
Although the state government has announced it will be distributing tabs to 4,59,564 students and 59,176 teachers in state and assisted schools in September, “supply issues” are said to push the delivery date further to December.
The total of 5,18,740 tabs will cost the government Rs 664 crore and is expected to come with Byju academic content pre-loaded for Class 8, education ministry sources said.
AP Technology Services has finalized the deal with a private supplier for the Samsung T220 Lite Tablet PC, with delivery schedule scheduled to begin this month.
In the first phase, the department planned to distribute the tabs in 15 districts on the north coast of Andhra and Rayalaseema by September 30.
The remaining 11 districts on the Andhra coast were to be covered in the second phase by October 31st.
However, Education Minister Botsa Satyanarayana told the Legislative Council last Friday that distribution of the tabs would be statewide on Children’s Day (November 14).
“But we can’t even keep to that schedule now because of the lack of equipment. Ultimately, it may not happen until December,” said a senior education ministry official.
Aside from that, sources said, there were also some technical issues that needed to be worked out with the content provider.
The tabs are loaded with a feature that allows tracking of student and teacher usage.
The government initially proposed giving the gadgets only to Grade 8 students, but the state cabinet gave its approval on September 7 to extend the facility to government teachers and also support schools.
Sources in the Ministry of Education said the government reached an agreement with the provider on September 5 under which each tab will come with a 64GB memory card at Rs 12,843, versus the market price of Rs 16,446.
Originally, the state government promised to distribute laptop computers to students in grades 9 to 12 (middle school) in lieu of the 13,000 rupees a year Amma Vodi unemployment benefit. The plan was canceled after suppliers quoted a base price of Rs 24,000 for each laptop.
The government then came up with the idea of the tabs to be distributed every year to Year 8 students from now on, who have to carry them to Years 9 and 10.
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