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Others received higher grades, and according to media reports in Ireland, colleges may need to create space for as many as 1,000 additional students.
According to The Irish Times, the government bypassed the normal tender process in awarding the lucrative contract to the Ottawa software firm, saying there was “insufficient time” to run a full procurement process.
The Irish government employed a provision reserved for cases of “extreme urgency” to award the contract, according to a Department of Education statement.
Polymetrika International Inc. was initially awarded a contract in May valued at 71,500 euros (approximately $110,000 CAD) for 65 days of work, which according to reporting by The Irish Times was for statistical services as a contingency in case final exams were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Times, the Ottawa company was paid at a rate of 1,100 euros ($800) per day on top of that contract to provide coding services for a new “calculated grades” system.
Polymetrika has, to date, been paid 163,000 euros (approximately $250,000), government officials confirmed this week.
The data errors “should not have occurred,” Ireland’s minister of education Norma Foley told Parliament during a heated debate Thursday, with the opposition blasting it as a “debacle” and a “fiasco.”
In a statement to The Irish Times and shared with this newspaper, a spokesman for Ireland’s Department of Education said Polymetrika “has recognized expertise in what is a highly technical and specialized field.”