Kerala to provide Chromebooks, tablets to students; delivery by December

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Thiruvananthapuram: To facilitate e-learning, the Kerala Government will distribute Chromebooks and tablets to students under its Vidyakiranam Scheme.

The scheme was launched to provide study materials to 4.71 lakh students, who could not afford digital education. As part of procuring Chromebooks and tablets, the government has invited tenders and several major global firms have evinced interest.

The financial bids would be opened on Monday, September 13, and the order for procuring the gadgets would be placed within two weeks after fixing the price. The government has asked the officials concerned to complete the distribution of gadgets by December.

The tenders for 2 lakh Chromebooks and 1.4 lakh tablets were invited along with 3.3 lakh entry-level laptops, and 1 lakh high-end laptops. The State IT Mission-led technical committee will scrutinize the submitted bids, before finalising the number of gadgets that have to be procured.

The government will raise Rs 1,000 crore for the gadgets that would cost an estimated Rs 20,000 each. The tablets would likely be included in the shopping list though the Department of Education realised that it may not serve educational purposes.

A Central government directive prohibiting States from using public funds to import gadgets from countries sharing a common border with India, however, may delay the procurement and distribution. Though the manufacturers had requested relaxing the norm, the State did not take a favourable stand anticipating legal issues. Hence, the firms have informed the State that they would require six months to deliver the gadgets.

Chromebook popular among students
A Chromebook is a laptop running the Linux-based Chrome as its operating system. It is popular among the student community worldwide. Almost all major companies are now producing Chromebooks, which cost less that the normal laptop.  

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