I received an email from a company offering me a complete package to fulfil the NCTE’s procurement framework. The company are called IT Systems and they are a HP partner. This means that because HP were one of the chosen few companies that we are allowed to buy from under this restrictive scheme, we can buy from this company.
The system, which costs €1,199, will give me a computer, projector, wireless keyboard and mouse. This is the minimum requirement for a classroom. Aside from the fact that this is expensive, I think it’s unfair that smaller, more local companies are being kicked to the kerb here. I could name half a dozen companies who could provide this “special” package for less than ITSystems but they aren’t allowed because they’re not big enough. (Apparently, there’s a clause that companies with less than 10 employees are not eligible in this scheme, which rules out most local businesses).
If I want to buy some piece of hardware, I have to send an email to these chosen companies through a special address. They then respond to me in turn. I think that’s enough advertising.
What will surely happen now is that schools will send an email with the product already in mind to this procurement list. For example, “I would like a complete classroom solution – PC, projector, keyboard and mouse – please. 50% will go on cost and 50% will go on being near Limerick.” Voila, they’ll get the system above.
If this system is to be done as fairly as possible, I don’t think it’s appropriate for these chosen companies to advertise further in schools. It gives unfair advantage to them in a supposed fair system and it pretty much salt in the wounds of the local businesses who will inevitably lose out. Oh…and for the record, ITSystems will only charge you a meagre €379 extra for a 3-year guarantee and installation! €379? It just gets more baffling everyday.