The gifts you have to order

420'000 pages to go for the schoolsOur 22 HP computer school labs. I had them mentioned in ‘Nicht für diese Welt’ in Outapi Times issue #2. Maintenance is done by Netts in Windhoek – in theory. Last month Victor finished to put our own Win2K3 image on all of the servers in the Omusati Region. The Labs are equipped with a powerful high volume network laser printers from Lexmark (T640). The whole equipment had just been dropped like a bomb without anything which comes close to a service level agreement. Although the price per page is very economical a cartridge is not. Therefore none of the printers had ever printed more than 6000 pages. Schools are not able to afford the cartridge? They in most cases would be. Trouble again is the missing of planning and understanding of a long term investment: although every year the same during examinations schools realize only a few days before a deadline that the have to print out a bunch of pages. The small cartridge for the Lexmark laser printer costs 1600 N$ (220$) the XL cartridge 3800 N$ (530$). Such an amount of money usually cannot be made available on short notice. As a quick fix principles are taking the petty cash and run to the consumer store GAME to buy the cheapest ink jet printer they can get. As a result some schools have now several of those ‘throw-away’ printers – all out of ink.
After realizing how terrible things went wrong we put in a ‘express’ requisition for 22 XL cartridges. Within a week we had the purchase order – record. Unfortunately shipping the items from South Africa took the supplier another another five weeks. Much more important and tricky than ordering cartridges is the task Gabes, ICT Education Officer from Advisory services, has volunteered for: explaining the principles the benefits of saving money in the long run by budgeting for the XL cartridge. Good news is that our Regional Office will budget for one cartridge per school each financial year from now. Therefore also the schools with no money around will be able to print at least 21’000 pages a year.

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