NSW DET culls $200m netbook list

The NSW Department of Education and Training has whittled its shortlist of would-be netbook suppliers for its $200 million state-wide deal down from 21 to just six.

The NSW Department of Education and Training has whittled its shortlist of would-be netbook suppliers for its $200 million state-wide deal down from 21 to just six.

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DET Minister: Verity Firth
(Credit: NSW government)

The department confirmed late yesterday that companies that have been asked to submit a proposal for the supply of the 220,000 netbooks worth no more than $500 each, include ASUSTek, Acer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and local technology supplier Anabelle Bits Pty Ltd, a division of ASI solutions.

The companies have until 6 March to submit a response, with Education Minister Verity Firth saying the department planned to select a "preferred vendor" by the end of March.

The department plans to deliver the netbooks to schools in greatest need first, with the aim of achieving at least one computer for every two students in years nine to 12. "All year 9 government school students will have a laptop by the end of the year," Firth said.

NSW had secured $380 million of the $2 billion supplied under the Federal Government's Digital Education Revolution, according to Firth.

Teachers will also be given a laptop under the proposal, according to Firth. "This means students and teachers will be using the same laptop. By having a laptop, teachers will be able to access thousands of online curricula and web-based applications, as well as new teaching methods," she said.

"[The computers] are just the first turn of a revolution which will see a huge lift in schools' ability to prepare students for the increasingly sophisticated technological challenges of the digital age," she said.

Yet to be announced, however understood to have been selected already, are the candidates that will be asked to submit a proposal for the wireless network roll-out to 571 of the state's public schools. ARN, which first broke the news of the netbook six, has reported the lucky few wireless suppliers to be NEC, Lenovo, IBM and ASI Solutions.

The cost per laptop over a four-year lifespan, according to the department, would reach approximately $2,245.

Security will play a key role in the deployment, with DET planning to restrict the netbooks to function only on the DET-filtered network to prevent them from being sold.