VILNIUS - The Lithuanian Education Ministry is planning to purchase and lease 35,000 computers as schools prepare to launch remote learning if they remain closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Some 5,000 computers will be bought and another 30,000 will be leased, the ministry said in a statement on Friday.
A total of 9.2 million euros have been earmarked for the purpose. The package also includes Internet services.
The ministry is also asking for help from anyone who can donate or lend computers to schools.
"We did a market analysis. We could not purchase such a large number of computers – several tens of thousands – in Lithuania and importing them will take up to several months," Education Minister Algirdas Monkevicius said. "Therefore, we are asking businesses to lease computers and tablets."
Over 30,000 schoolchildren in Lithuania, or one in ten students, come from socially disadvantaged families. The new computers will be distributed to municipalities to ensure that all students have access to remote learning, according to the ministry.
Education Minister Algirdas Monkevicius said they are asking for help from the Public Procurement Office and the Special Investigation Service.
"We want to ensure full transparency in procurement procedures," he said.
General education schools enroll a total of over 300,000 students.
As part of nationwide quarantine measures in place since Monday, the educational process in Lithuania has been suspended until March 30. Schools are currently on a break, but prepare to launch remote learning on March 30.