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Govt to procure pupils’ laptops through UNESCO

13 February 2015, 16:45 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – The Education ministry has sought an alternative way of meeting Jubilee Government’s campaign promise of providing laptops to class one pupils in all public primary schools through a new partnership deal.

The ministry now plans to partner with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the procurement of the laptops after the High Court’s cancellation of an earlier deal with an Indian firm, Olive Telecommunications, due to flawed tendering process and inflated prices.

The Education Cabinet Secretary, Jacob Kaimenyi said although Olive Telecommunications has appealed to the court’s ruling,  the case might take long and delay the acquisition of laptops. Therefore, his ministry is in negotiations with UNESCO to get the gadgets because Kenya is the organization’s Member State.

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“We will behave like a river because when you block a river then it might look for alternative ways of escaping. Olive has appealed to the ruling and the case is likely to take months or even years,” said Kaimenyi.

He said despite the court’s ruling and some people calling for fresh tendering exercise, there is no guarantee for the ministry to re-enter into agreement with Olive Telecommunications for the procurement of the KES 24 billion laptop project.

“We have decided to use UNESCO’s systems to tender laptops because it has good reputation where member countries partner with it through its education programme on Self-benefiting Trust Finance Model,” said Kaimenyi.

“What you do with this model as a country; whatever money set up for education projects in this case, the country opens an account and money go to that account upon agreed modalities of management services with UNESCO,” he reiterated.

The Education CS held that the procurement of laptops through UNESCO is the only fair and entrusted way the government will take because the programme has succeeded in India, Malasyia and Nigeria among other partner countries.

Kaimenyi was responding questions raised by the National Assembly committee on Education regarding the integration of information, communication and technology in schools where he affirmed that the government will fulfill its laptops promise to pupils before Jubilee’s first five-year term of governance elapses.

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