Monday, December 18, 2006

Government Promises Computer for Every Pupil in Macedonia

Computer for every child is the name of the project with which the Macedonian Government is planning to renew primary and secondary schools in the following two years. The Government is planning to purchase 150.000 computers for the pupils in primary and secondary schools together with free training and internet, as well as scholarships for IT students.

9 million euros are projected in the 2007 Budget, and additional 9 million euros will be provided with 2008 Budget.

“From the beginning of the next school year each child in the school will have a computer. The purchase will be performed in two stages, with public bidding. Each citizen will have the opportunity to purchase computer for 100 US dollars, or to pay for it on 12 installments,” said Zoran Stavrevski, vice prime minister, at the promotion of the new projects for ICT development held on December 10, 2006.

Total amount just for the first project is expected to reach 20 to 22 million euros.

“In the first half of 2007 we will announce international tender for purchasing half of the computers. We have not yet defined the final number of computers, but we know that we need from 150.000 to 180.000 computers. We have contacted with the UNDP office. There is a “One Laptop per Child” project going on in the world, within which a company produces laptops for $100. We have contacted with producers to find out who can produce that number of computers for a favourable price,” said Stavrevski.

Within the second project planned for May 2007 all the citizens will have the opportunity to be trained for basic computer skills free of cost in partnership with private sector.

The third project projected for 2007 and 2008 will provide free internet for the citizens. With the fourth project planned to start in 2007 the Government plans to financially support 5.000 students that will study information technologies at some of the faculties in Macedonia. The amount that the students are to receive from the Government is not yet determined, but it is certain that about 500 students will receive four-year scholarship of 5.000 denars per month.

Statistically in Macedonia there is one computer per 56 children.

“Equipping will be simultaneous, both in the urban and rural areas. Currently, there are about 5.000 computers in the schools that were donated by the People’s Republic of China,” said Jovan Lazarov, deputy minister of education.

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