Students and teachers of Class 8 will have to wait three more months to receive the tablet computers (tabs) promised by the Andhra Pradesh government.
Though the state government announced it will distribute tabs to 4,59,564 students and 59,176 teachers in government and aided schools in September, ”supply issues” are said to be pushing the delivery date further to December.
The total 5,18,740 tabs will cost the government Rs 664 crore and are supposed to come with pre-loaded Byju’s academic content for Class 8, sources in the Education Department said.
The AP Technology Services finalised the deal with a private supplier for the Samsung T220 Lite Tablet PC, with the delivery schedule supposed to start this month.
In the first phase, the department planned to distribute the tabs in 15 districts spread over north coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema by September 30.
The remaining 11 districts in coastal Andhra were supposed to be covered in the second phase by October 31.
However, Education Minister Botsa Satyanarayana told the Legislative Council on Friday last that the tab distribution would be done on Children’s Day (November 14) across the state.
”But we may not meet even that timeline now because of paucity of the gadgets. Eventually it may happen only in December,” a senior official of the Education Department said.
This apart, sources said, there were also some technical issues involved that needed to be sorted out with the content provider.
The tabs will come loaded with a feature that enables tracking of usage by students and teachers.
Initially, the government proposed to give the gadgets only to students of Class-8 but the state Cabinet gave its approval on September 7 extending the facility to the teachers in government and aided schools as well.
Sources in the Education Department said the government entered into an agreement with the vendor on September 5 under which each Tab with a 64 GB memory card will be supplied at Rs 12,843, as against the market price of Rs 16,446.
Originally, the state government promised to distribute laptop computers to students from classes 9 to 12 (Intermediate) in lieu of the Rs 13,000 per annum Amma Vodi dole. The plan was aborted after the suppliers quoted a base price of Rs 24,000 for each laptop.
The government then came up with the tabs idea, to be distributed to Class-8 students every year from now on, which they will have to carry to classes 9 and 10.