Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam informed the Presidential Commission that he had submitted 13 cabinet papers on several occasions with regard to providing tab computers for GCE A/L students and their teachers.
He said that he had travelled to developed countries like Japan, South Korea and in those countries children used tabs as equipment for educational purposes. “I also think we have to move that way. Each year we spend billions of rupees for printing textbooks and if we can provide tabs rather textbooks, we can save all that money,” he said.
The Minister said that when he presented the proposal, all ministers recommended a number of amendments and he has to present amended cabinet papers on 13 occasions.
He also said that already the Ministry is teaching a number of instructors who can guide the children on using tab computers and that all the fear people about this system had been created by the media.
PCoI Chairman, retired Supreme Court Judge Upali Abeyrathne asked the Minister whether he was aware that the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) and the procurement committee had not followed the procurement guidelines.
Mr. Kariyawasam said that he was not aware of this and that he relied on what his secretary told him.
"At the end of the day, it is the secretary who is responsible. It’s his responsibility to ensure the process is conducted properly."
The Minister also said that he was not aware of the existence of the procurement guidelines. He also stated that he was not aware that a number of changes made during the bidding process.
"It’s the responsibility of the TEC and procurement committee to do things properly. I will ensure that the children get these tabs." (Yoshitha Perera)