While public schools await the new pre-school curriculum study material, which could have started in January there are still no signs that teaching will be starting any time soon. The tender for the teaching material which was floated in June 2016 is yet to be awarded.
In the last State of the Nation Address, President Ian Khma stated as a new flagship programme an initiative to facilitate pre-primary school learning.
Sources close to the tender have expressed shock at the delays surrounding the tender.
After months of waiting for the tender award correspondence from the Department of Curriculum Development and Evaluation to the publishers designated states that the process is still at adjudication.
“Kindly be informed that the above mentioned tender is still undergoing adjudication. As you may be aware we had received a huge number of materials (567) from bidders. Due to the unanticipated number of submissions, the evaluation and subsequent adjudication extended way beyond the initial tender validity period. We had requested for extension up to the 31st March, 2017, unfortunately adjudication is still on-going.”
The Curriculum Department’s correspondence further states that the department has been in communication with Public Procurement and asset Disposal Board on the way forward.
In response to questions posed by Sunday Standard, Minki Lekgabe, of Department of Curriculum Development and Evaluation cautioned that tenders are sensitive in nature.
She said the tender has been extended twice after consultation with publishers.
She said the department had not anticipated a large number of submissions from publishers.
“It has thus taken time to evaluate them,” she said.
She was adamant that all the rules as stated in the tender documents have been followed.
“Yes, the process is being followed (the tender is still open) as stated in the tender document. That all bidders are local publishing companies based in Botswana – 14 in total. And that, 12 months is rather too long adjudicating a tender. However PPADB is better placed to respond to this.”
She explained that the tender would be awarded after PPADB has completed the adjudication and the CD&E has come up with a requisition list for Basic Education to procure books. As for the Secondary material tender she said the secondary program is under revision. The tender will only be floated once the revision has been done.
“PPADB is in receipt of an evaluation report from the Ministry of Basic Education. This is a bulky tender which received 567 books or learner materials in response hence it took longer to be evaluated. The process of adjudication of the tender by PPADB is still ongoing. According to Section 91 of the PPADB Act (2002 as amended) all the information relating to an ongoing tender remains confidential,” responded Keemenao Jappie on behalf of PPADB to questions posed by this publication on the matter.
To questions seeking clarity as to whether this tender delay does not paint gloomy picture on the country’s education system, Jappie referred them to the Ministry of Basic Education.