The federal government is stepping up efforts to relieve overcrowding in public schools, and it is merging those efforts with a concomitant infusion of educational technology and equipment—on behalf of the Ministry of Education (MOE), that is, in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The endeavor comes at a time when school boards and voters across the U.S. are wrangling over budget cuts, diminished resources and anticipated overcrowding for the 2011-2012 school year.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in March embarked upon the Jordan Schools Construction and Rehabilitation Project, or JSP I, which will provide the Jordanian MOE with computer equipment and furniture for eleven newly constructed schools (Solicitation #Tender1US-2011). On Monday, however, USAID rolled out a separate $24 million project—JSP II—specifically for the construction of additional educational facilities as well as to rehabilitate existing structures (Request for Proposals [RFP] #SOL-278-11-000007).
According to documents that U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor located through a routine search of a federal contracting database, the selected contractor will provide engineering, design, and construction services to the Jordan MOE for a total of twenty-five new schools and 100 schools slated for improvements.
In addition to meeting the U.S. policy objective of reducing overcrowding in Jordanian schools, the RFP advises potential vendors that the design of the new schools must factor in modern environmental standards. For example:
Appropriate acoustic standards ensured (minimal/no reverberation, sound transmission).
Optimal light conditions (sizing and orientation of openings; consideration of contrast and glare as design factors).
Climatic features of a given site shall be taken into consideration, e.g. ventilation, solar radiation, average temperatures.
Color – both from an environmental/psychological and maintenance point of view.
USAID already is reviewing bids from contractors to supply furniture and computer equipment under JSP I. In addition to providing tens of thousands of desks, chairs, curtains, shelves, gym wall-pads and lockers for students, the project also will equip school administrators with new office furniture.
JSP I is a veritable classroom-electronics bonanza for the Jordanian people. According to that RFP, this segment of the project entails:
1,004 student computers
302 teacher computers
152 student laptops
553 teacher laptops
131 interactive white boards with projectors
Dozens of stoves, refrigerators, hot plates and cleaning machines.
USAID had tentatively planned to award contracts by April 15, the document said, but no contract awards at this time can be found in the database.
The agency had expected to have the equipment "delivered and installed," it said, by June 15 to the following facilities: Saed Bin Abi Wakas Basic Boys School, Hay Aj-Janobi Basic Boys School, Madaba Basic Co. School, and Jabal Tareq Basic Boys School .
July 1 is the slated delivery and installation date for Ezz Ad-Dien Qassam Basic Co. School, Um Qsir Basic Boys School, Sahab Basic Boys School, Shajarat Ad Dur Basic Co. School, Abdel Muneam Reyadh Basic Boys School, Dahiet Ameer Hassan Basic Co. School, Al Qadesiah Sec. Girls School, and Al Qadesiah Sec. Co. School.
The Safeiah Basic Co. School is the final school scheduled to receive the equipment, with a final delivery and installation date of August 10.
USAID did not disclose the estimated value of JSP I.