The Hong Kong government is set to launch the controversial HK$220 million Internet Learning Support Program (ILSP) on July 14 to help students from low income families make use of the Internet for learning, said the Government CIO Stephen Mak Monday.
Ex-GCIO Jeremy earlier this month alleged that four senior government officials--including his former boss Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Elizabeth Tse and Financial Secretary John Tsang--told him to award the ILSP contract to iProA where a large number of members are associated with the pro-government DAB (Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong).
Godfrey also slammed the appointment of two program implementers--iProA and the Hong Kong Council of Social Service--in different districts as not in the best interest of the low-income families.
John Fung, director of Information Technology Resource Centre at the Hong Kong Council of Social Service admitted that having two implementers isn't much different to having just one, but the former approach is more costly.
The five-year program branded "i Learn at home' will benefit primary and secondary full-time students from families who are receiving the Internet Access Subsidy under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance scheme or through the Student Financial Assistance Agency, said Mak.
In the next 18 months, the program will provide a maximum of HK$1,300 Internet subsidies to each eligible student or family, according to program details.
"It is estimated that 410 000 students from 300 000 families are eligible in the 2011-12 school year, and an additional 112 000 students from 82 000 families will be eligible in the following four years," he noted.
According to Mak, eInclusion--a company formed by iProA will brand itself as Net-Com rock n' roll and implement the program in theService Zone East that includes Eastern, Kowloon City, Kwun Tong, North, Sai Kung, Sha Tin, Tai Po, and Wong Tai Sin.
Internet Learning Resource Centre of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service will brand itself as WebOrganic and implement the program in Service Zone West that includes Central and Western, Islands, Kwai Tsing, Sham Shui Po, Southern, Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun, Wan Chai, Yau Tsim Mong, and Yuen Long.
According to the government, the two implementers will set up service centers in their respective zones to provide the following services:
* economical Internet access services;
* affordable computer equipment with flexible payment options;
* technical support through hotlines and help desks;
* training for students;
* training for parents; and
* group-based and one-on-one advisory services.
The implementers are also required to provide a minimum of 360 training sessions to eligible families and students in the next 18 months. "During this period, we expect that no less than 72 000 registered families would receive services from the program and at least 85 per cent of families having no access to the Internet at the time of registration would set up Internet connections at home after joining the program," said Mak.
The implementers will announce shortly details of the services and offers they will provide, he added.
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