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2020.03.20 11:21

Lithuania to procure 35,000 computers as schools prepare to teach remotely

Jūratė Skėrytė, BNS 2020.03.20 11:21

The Lithuanian Education Ministry is planning to purchase and lease 35,000 computers as schools prepare to launch remote learning due to the quarantine.

The ministry plans to buy 5,000 computers and lease 30,000 more, it 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 analysed the market. We would not be able to purchase that many computers – several tens of thousands – in Lithuania and importing them will take several months,” Education Minister Algirdas Monkevičius said. “Therefore, we are asking businesses to lease laptops and tablets.”

Over 30,000 school students in Lithuania, or about one in ten, 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 Monkevičius said the ministry asked help from the Public Procurement Office and the Special Investigation Service.

“We want to ensure full transparency in procurement procedures,” he said.

Over 300,000 students attend primary and secondary schools in Lithuania.

As part of nationwide quarantine measures in place since Monday, the country's education institutions have been closed until March 30. The schools are currently on a break, but need prepare to teach remotely on March 30.