State shortlists 10 firms in laptop project

The Government has shortlisted 10 companies among them five public universities to implement the primary school digital learning programme.

This is seen as a fresh effort to conclude the Sh24 billion tender for the supply of laptops to primary schools that has been elusive for two years.

Kenyatta University (KU), Dedan Kimathi University, Moi university, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and The University of Nairobi (UoN) have been shortlisted to deliver the multi-billion-shilling Jubilee pet project.

Strathmore Research and Consultancy Centre (SRCC), Smoothtel and Data Solutions Ltd and Symphony Technologies Ltd have also been short-listed for the lucrative project.

Well-known brands Lenovo East Africa Ltd and Hewlett-Packard East Africa Ltd (HP) make the last two of the 10 successful firms identified by the Information and Communication Technology Authority (ICTA) tender committee.

Each firm, save for HP, have listed partners, which they shall work together.

KU is partnering with BRCK Ltd/Guangzhou Institute of Technology, while Dedan Kimathi University will partner with Technology Partcipativa Technologia DA Educacao Ltd.

JKUAT is partnering with POSITIVO BGH, while Moi partners with JP SA Cout of South Africa.UoN is working with Huawei Technologies Ltd, according to the award document.

The Standard has established that the request for proposal (RFP's) documents have already been sent to shortlisted firms and they are expected to respond within 42 days.

"Shortlisted firms have been issued with proposals to submit their technical and financial bids. The tender awards will be given to the applicant that meets most criteria," said a senior ICTA official.

The firms are expected to start delivery in January 2016. "Once the firms have returned their bid documents, they shall be evaluated on technical and financial capabilities and be cleared to start implementing what they have been assigned in January," reads the brief.

Successful firms will have an expanded mandate that will include delivery and installation of the devices, with an ability to develop local assembly capacity.

The firms shall, therefore, be required to supply, distribute and install the teacher and learner digital devices.

"Our main focus is to achieve development of innovation skills for our envisioned knowledge economy, promoting research and development," said former Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, now Education CS.

Dr Matiang'i said promotion of local assembly and manufacturing of goods and services relating to the programme, and enhancing job creation are the other core objectives.

The tender was advertised on September 4 for the supply of Teacher Digital Device (TDD), Learner Digital Device (LDD), Special Needs Education Learner Digital Device (SNELDD), servers, routers and projectors.

Some 25 firms tendered their documents. "The 15 firms that did not make it have also been informed," said the ICTA official.

According to ICTA, the successful firms will be given 50 schools for proof of concept.

"Only firms that will deliver the first 50 schools shall be considered for the next round of 200,000 schools," reads the document.

The document further reads: "on the first phase of the implementation, some 600,000 gadgets shall have been delivered by June 2016. And 1.2 million gadgets shall have been delivered to schools by June 2017."

Commissioning of the project has tentatively been scheduled for August, 2017.

The pilot schools have been selected per county on urban, peri-urban and rural categories.

According to the implementation timelines, content for Standard One was ready by September 2015, while that for Standard Two is scheduled to be ready by end of December, 2015.

Content for Standard Three shall be ready by March next year and the cloud portal shall be ready by June next year.

The document says electricity connection for some 16,000 primary schools was done by September and by end of December some 22,000 schools shall have been connected to electricity.

By June next year, some 93,000 teachers shall have been trained. On teacher capacity development, 77,000 teachers shall have been trained by end of December 2015.