Akila says suspension of tablet PC project temporary

President wants other programmes given priority



By Saman Indrajith

The suspension of the project to provide tablet computers for G.C.E A/L students was only a temporary, Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told Parliament yesterday (22).

Kariyawasam made the announcement during the Oral Question Round. Responding to Joint Opposition (JO) MP Dullas Alahapperuma, who wanted to know why the government had decided to scrap the project, the minister said that the Cabinet believed there were several other priorities in the education sector to fulfil prior to the implementation of that project.

Alahapperuma: The media reported that this project was suspended by President Maithripala Sirisena himself. Some reports indicated that the president had made that decision because there were flaws in the tender procedure. This is an important project as our younger generation should be allowed to use new technology. I would like to know real reasons for suspending it.

Kariyawasam: I can confidently say that we followed the proper procedure. There were some companies which tried to cheat. But, we did not allow anyone to do that. We will save approximately Rs. 2 billion. What the president says is that there are several other projects which should be given priority. Several members of the Cabinet also of that opinion. That is why we decided to suspend this project temporarily. That is only a temporary move."

The minister agreed with MP Alahapperuma on the importance of the youth having at their disposal the latest technology. "If people opposed bringing computers into the country in late 80s, we would not have had that technology today. Therefore, I agree with MP Alahapperuma. We will start this project soon.

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