Education Minister bullish on controversial tab program

Education Minister bullish on controversial tab program

Written by Staff Writer

08 Jul, 2018 | 10:45 am

COLOMBO (News 1st ) – Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam says the final decision on the proposal to provide tabs for Advanced Level students will be made by a committee of specialists. The Minister made this remark while speaking to the media following an event in Kandy.

On the 19th of February 2018 the proposal for the provision of tabs was presented to Cabinet for the very first time. President Maithripala Sirisena shot down the proposal and called for a further study on it.

The proposal was reintroduced to Cabinet recently. Rather than acting on the instructions of the President, the Minister of Education had resubmitted the original cabinet papers without making any change. However, this cabinet paper proposes to select the bid with the third lowest quoted prices rather than selecting the bid with the lowest price.

The recommendation provided by the ministry of health to justify this selection was odd as it was not contained in the initial tender requirements. The Ministry noted that that the selected devices are the best in terms of durability and health effects towards the children.

When questioned by journalists on whether the new cabinet paper agrees with the recommendations made by the President on the project, the minister danced around the question and stated that a final decision will be made by a committee of experts which will include members representing the President, PM and other parties.

When pressed on the health aspect of the devices and who conducted the tests which determined that the selected devices are the most suitable, the Minister of health simply said “we have done a clean job” adding that it was done in accordance with reports issued by the Technical Evaluation Committee.

Kariyawasam went onto note that he is not prepared to respond to arguments put forward by the other suppliers or questioned raised by the media.

Though the minister responded in such a manner, News1st has uncovered that the technical evaluation committee member representing the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure, had not placed his signature on the test report which relates to the safety aspect and the durability of the recommended digital devices.

The President had directed the attention of the Education Minister on 07 separate matters. These include the consideration of the recommendations made by the Finance Minister, the need to introduce computer technology to all schools and raise awareness among teachers and parents on security features.

Why did the Education Minister re-submit the cabinet paper without focusing on any of the above-mentioned recommendations?

Was the President compelled to remind the Minister of Education of these matters because he is unable to follow simple instructions? Or is it because he had forgotten about it?

 

 

 

 

 

When Minister of Education Akila Viraj Kariyawasam was questioned regarding the cabinet paper agreeing to the recommendations made by the President, he stated that there were various views over the provision of TAB Computers.

He added that at the Cabinet meeting an opportunity was given to reach a decision via the committee which will have two representatives each from the President and Prime Minister as well as two representatives from his ministry.

However, the Minister was not responding to the question posed by our correspondent.

Was a proper examination carried out on the products put forward by the suppliers, as per the recommendations made?

Minister was then questioned about the recommendation on the health aspect. Responding to this he said that everything is being handled and that there are no issues.

He added that they have reached that decision taking into account the health aspect and that they have presented the best solution that is available.

He was then questioned about the institution that performed the test. He said that he does not have the respective TC report, yet, all matters were handled based on the TEC recommendations.

Though the minister responded in such a manner, the officer who was a member of the Technical Committee representing the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure had not placed his signature on the test report which relates to the safety aspect and the durability of a digital device.

However, the President had directed the attention of the Education Minister on seven separate matters. These include the consideration of the recommendations made by the Finance Minister, the need to introduce computer technology to all schools and raise awareness among teachers and parents on security features.

Why did the Education Minister re-submit the cabinet paper without focusing on any of the above-mentioned recommendations?

Was the President compelled to remind the Minister of Education of these matters because he is unable to follow a simple instruction?

Or is it because he had forgotten about it?


Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam says the final decision on the proposal for the provision of TAB computers for Advanced Level students will be made by the committee of specialists.

The Minister made this remark while speaking to the media following an event in Kandy.

It was the 19th of February that the proposal for the provision of TAB computers for Advance Level Students was presented to Cabinet for the very first time.

The President who was attentive to this proposal called on for the proposal to be halted and instructed for it to be studied further.

The proposal was reintroduced to Cabinet recently, however a situation was reported in Cabinet when it was presented.

The reason being, rather than acting on the instructions of the President, the Minister of Education had resubmitted the original cabinet without making any change.

However, this cabinet paper proposes to select the bid with the third lowest quoted prices rather than selecting the bid for the lowest prices.

This can be viewed as a waste of Rs. 1.2 Billion or Rs. 1200 Million.

The argument put forward to select the highest quoted price contradicts the recommendations that have been made and these relate to the health aspect and the durability.

Question :

“… Minister, with regard to the provision of TAB computers , the President had made recommendations. Does the cabinet paper agree to those recommendations ? …”

Dub

Akila Viraj Kariyawasam

Minister of Education

“… There were various views over the provision of TAB Computers. At the Cabinet meeting an opportunity was given to reach a decision via the committee which will have two representatives each from the President and Prime Minister as well as two representatives from my ministry ..”

However, the Minister was not responding to the question posed by our correspondent.

Was a proper examination carried out on the products put forward by the suppliers, as per the recommendations made ?

Question :

“… What about the recommendation on the health aspect ? …”

Dub

Akila Viraj Kariyawasam

Minister of Education

“… Everything is being handled and there is no issue. We have reached the decision taking in to account the health aspect as well. We have presented the best solution that is available …”

Question :

“… What is the institution that performed the test ? …”

Dub

Akila Viraj Kariyawasam

Minister of Education

“… I do not have the respective TC report. Yet, all matters were handled based on the TEC recommendations. You need not panic on this. We are not prepared to counter the arguments put forward by the suppliers. We done a clean job. We also not prepared to respond to questions posed by the media simply because someone did not get the bid …”

Though the minister responded in such a manner, the officer who was a member of the Technical Committee representing the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure had not placed his signature on the test report which relates to the safety aspect and the durability of a digital devise.

However, the President had directed the attention of the Education Minister on 07 separate matters.

These include the consideration of the recommendations made by the Finance Minister , the need to introduce computer technology to all schools and raise awareness among teachers and parents on security features.

Why did the Education Minister re-submit the cabinet paper without focusing on any of the above mentioned recommendations ?

Was the President compelled to remind the Minister of Education of these matter because he is unable to follow a simple instruction ?

Or is it because he had forgotten about it ?

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