VILNIUS – Lithuania’s National Agency for Education (NSA), which earlier distributed 2,000 tablet computers among schoolchildren for distance learning needs, expects to deliver extra 15,000 devices with Internet access this week, Vaino Brazdeikis, acting director of the agency, has said.
The agency had already purchased approximately 20,000 Huawei, Samsung and Lenovo tablets under the contracts signed with various suppliers, he said adding that that the average purchase price was approximately EUR 150–160 per device.
One-half of devices – 10,000 tablets Samsung Galaxy Tab A – would be supplied by Telia, which would also provide mobile internet access, which NSA had purchased for a period of two months at a cost of approximately EUR 2.4 per tablet.
“The [wireless internet] cards should be ready today or tomorrow, in total, there will be approximately 20,000 cards and approximately 20,000 tablets. We plan to deliver 15,000 tablets this week,” Brazdeikis told BNS.
Initially, NSA planned to purchase 35,000 tablets and laptops and distribute the devices among socially disadvantaged households for e-learning needs. However, the procurement process took longer than expected due to the absence of suppliers ready to provide laptops at the asking price of no more than EUR 500 per device.
Thus, the agency would only purchase less than expected – approximately 3,000 laptops – matching the procurement criteria, Brazdeikis said.
NSA expected to purchase the remaining devices – approximately 15,000 units – in the nearest time, he said adding that those items would be distributed among schoolchildren after Easter.
“The total number will be 35,000 units, that’s for sure, but we will still need to decide what to do with laptops,” Brazdeikis said.
The first tablets purchased by the agency – approximately 2,000 units – were delivered to municipalities last Friday. Additional 1,000 devices with internet access donated by businesses should be delivered in the coming days.
As part of nationwide lockdown measures in place since Mar. 16, the educational process in Lithuania was suspended for two weeks. On Mar. 30, schools launched remote learning.
With some schoolchildren lacking e-learning means, the Ministry of Education decided to purchase computers for children from socially disadvantaged families.