With the project “Computer for Every Child”, primary and secondary school next year will get “tablet computers for every child,” informed Deputy Minister of Education and Science Spiro Ristovski.
“Computer for every child” went with a lot of controversy and doubts on the procurement of equipment, and to this day, it is not exactly known how much money the project costs. The opposition accused that the project reached 24 million euros from the initial of 8.5 million euros.
Its successor, project “Tablet for Every Child” is also provided in “Verified”, election program of VMRO-DPMNE for 2014-2018.
“We will continue to modernize classes for our students through the purchase of 300,000 new tablets (with keyboard) for all students in primary and secondary education. That way, computers for students will be renewed and entry of new digital content that will provide more modern and more active approach in overcoming of classes will be enabled. It will contribute to a better quality of education and improve the performance of Macedonian students,” reads “Verified”.
The program says that tablets for students in secondary education will be purchased in 2016, in 2017 for students from sixth to ninth grade, and in 2018, for students from first to fifth grade of primary education. Funds will be provided from the budget of the Republic of Macedonia.
– Around 150 million denars are planned. It is planned to be a much greater individual responsibility for each school, each school management and, naturally, of the one using the tablet – said Spiro Ristovski.
The project was announced by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski at a gathering in Tetovo, in the election campaign in April last year.
– A gradual replacement of four years of the existing computers that slowly getting old is projected. The computer is a thing that starts to become obsolete within six to seven years. These will be tablets with keyboard and will be much more modern, in accordance with the time in which we live – said Gruevski in Tetovo.
Government project “Computer for Every Child” was based on the National Program for the Development of Education (2005-2015). This project was planned to provide 17,818 PCs, 98,710 LCD monitors, 98,710 keyboards, mice and 80,892 thin clients for primary and secondary schools.
It is still unknown exactly how much money this project costs the country, nor what would happen with computers that are already used and becoming obsolete.
A few years ago, the opposition accused that the initial project reached 24 million euros from the initial amount of 8.5 million euros.
– The initial project for the purchase of 100,000 computers was designed to cost 8.5 million euros, while it amounted to 24 million euros. A competition for purchases was announced without first providing electric and telecommunication infrastructure in schools. Additional money were received from Telecom with TK infrastructure, from EVN for electricity, and, on top of everything, PE “Macedonian Broadcasting” announced a competition for communications infrastructure, although it has nothing to do with it – said Jani Makraduli of SDSM.
Regarding Makraduli’s statement that 100,000 computers can be purchased for 8.2 million euros, Ivanovski said that “with that math”, a computer would cost 82 euros.
– If Makraduli can purchase a computer for 82 euros, bravo – said Ivanovski.
According to research published in the book of Sasho Ordanovski “Trapped democracy – Development of media ownership in the Republic of Macedonia” (2012), the Government, in 2009, through the Ministry of Information Society, procured laptops for students to third grade and for teaching staff with a tender.
About 55,000 laptops were purchased by the Serbian company “ComTrade Group” for an amount of 11.7 million euros, i.e. 213 euros per piece.
The owner of the company “ComTrade Group” is Serbian tycoon Veselin Jevrosimovik, who some call “Serbian Bill Gates.” He founded the company in 1996.
As Ordanovski wrote in “Trapped democracy”, Jevrosimovik was in excellent business contacts with Zharko Lukovski, otherwise a close friend of Orce Kamchev and director of the Security and Intelligence (UBK) Sasho Mijalkov, first cousin of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.
When VMRO-DPMNE came to power in 2006, Lukovski was appointed member of the Board of Directors of “Macedonian Telecom”, and soon after, President of the Board and CEO of the largest mobile operator in Macedonia “T Mobile”, companies to which Jevrosimovik is selling handsets and IT equipment in past years. Private company of Lukovski that he ran before becoming director of “Macedonian Telecom” is called “Com Trade New Technologies Limited”, similar to the company “ComTrade” of Jevrosimovik.
According to reporting of media (research story of journalists from editions of “Nova TV” and “Fokus”, published in February 2014), through company “Internet Group LLC”, Veselin Jevrosimovik owns one third of “Graphic Center”, company that prints editions of MPM, thus the portal “Telegraf.mk”.
Serbian tycoon Jevrosimovik also owns television “Alfa”, which he bought from Shterjo Nakov.
In March 2013, two bombs were thrown at the house of Jevrosimovik in Belgrade, which went off, but, other than the material damage, fortunately, no one was injured.