3.4.1 Maintenance

LCCDs and other supporting equipment, such as servers and networking components, may require maintenance and repair. In addition, support staff—including new personnel to be hired or contracted—need to receive LCCD maintenance training.

One way of managing maintenance and support costs is to introduce a tiered system. This involves providing adequate training at the local level, where the LCCDs are installed, to handle routine software and hardware fixes. This ensures that basic repairs can be made without having to send the equipment somewhere else, avoiding long periods when students have no access to their LCCDs. A more sophisticated level of maintenance and repair can then be provided at regional or national levels for more serious problems. One aspect of tablets and e-readers is that they are generally self-contained devices with few, if any, user-serviceable components. Thus, they should result in a reduced maintenance burden compared with laptop or desktop computers. If they are damaged or fail, though, it may be more difficult to repair them.

Maintenance costs depend on how the program is designed. Costs can be internalized if existing students and staff are trained in basic repair and maintenance and in turn, pass their knowledge on to others (“training the trainers”). Specialized staff will require training for more sophisticated repair activities.

In some cases, maintenance and repair support has been included as part of the bidding requirements for government tenders. Project administrators should obtain performance guarantees and equipment warranties from vendors whenever possible. They should also scope out the logistics for getting LCCDs repaired or replaced.

Any LCCD program should also maintain a stock of new components and replacement LCCDs. In the case of Haiti, for example, 5 per cent of project costs were set aside for replacement stock-piling.

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