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Education Ministry: 54 Textbooks Delayed, Procurement Reform Needed



Education Ministry: 54 Textbooks Delayed, Procurement Reform Needed

Following a dispute with a supplier after a tender exercise for the production of school textbooks, a delay in distribution is the reason behind 21 primary and 33 secondary titles remaining unavailable.

This was revealed by the Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, in response to a question from MP Aadil Ameer Meea.

She also admitted that the monitoring of the process was not properly carried out by ministry officials.

Seven tender exercises were initiated for the supply of textbooks for the 2024 school year.

For primary schools, this dates back to June 9, 2023, and for secondary schools, to August 3, 2023, for Grades 7 to 9+, including the Extended Program.

As for the Holistic Education Program and Kreol Rodrige, the order was made on September 14, 2023. Two more tenders were carried out in October and November for large books and the second part of the textbooks.

The Government Printing Office was responsible for printing twelve Grade 3 textbooks, first volume, since April 17, 2023.

The tender exercise went smoothly for primary schools, and therefore there was no delay in distribution, except for the Holistic Development Programme, which had to be repeated.

For secondary schools, there was a delay following a dispute with a supplier on October 20, 2023.

The supplier appealed to the Independent Review Panel, but their complaint was rejected. The contract was awarded to the successful bidder on November 17, 2023.

However, one of the suppliers faced technical difficulties, further delaying the printing process.

Dookun-Luchoomun stated that as soon as the ministry was informed of the delay, district directors and principals were asked to use the Soft Copies available on the MIE website until the delivery.

The officers in the Procurement section were tasked to closely monitor the process until all missing textbooks are delivered.

The Vice-Prime Minister and Education Minister clarified that out of the 206 primary textbooks, only 21 are missing, and for secondary schools, there are 33 missing out of 216.

Dookun-Luchoomun assured that everything will be completed by the next week. She conceded that the monitoring of textbook supply has not been properly conducted, and the responsible officers have been instructed to oversee the process more effectively to avoid further delays.

Meea noted that the same scenario repeats every year for Grades 7, 8, and 9. He suggested revising the procedure and engaging multiple suppliers instead of just one.

Furthermore, the current supplier fails to meet their contract obligations every year. The minister responded that she has already instructed her officers to conduct more regular follow-ups on the procedure. Dookun-Luchoomun reassured that the tender exercise was conducted transparently.

Source: Le Mauricien

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