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NCPO to decide fate of tablets

Committee seeks additional information and possible options from ministry

THE NATIONAL COUNCIL for Peace and Order (NCPO) will decide whether to scrap the one tablet per child scheme only after the Education Ministry submits additional information.

The ministry was yesterday instructed to present additional information on the scheme as well as its alternatives within 15 days.

The One Tablet Per Child (OTPC) scheme has been a subject of |controversy. Launched by the |ousted Pheu Thai-led govern-|ment, it has stirred up excite-|ment among children but |concerns among several educators.

NCPO deputy chief Admiral Narong Pipattanasai, who now oversees the Education Ministry, has called for its review.

The ministry's permanent secretary, Suthasri Wongsamarn, yesterday presented available research on the scheme to Lt-General Surachet Chaiwong, who attended a meeting with top education officials on Narong's behalf. Surachet, however, believed more information was needed.

"Some of the research points to the scheme's benefits while some others reflect its flaws," Suthasri reckoned.

Surachet has instructed the Education Ministry to set up a committee to gather additional information on the scheme and its possible replacements.

"We will also explore other ways of using electronic devices for educational purposes," Suthasri said.

According to her, the Smart Room idea - which calls for setting up well-equipped lab for schools - is not the only possible alternative.

Suthasri said her ministry would recruit the representatives of all relevant parties to the committee tasked with gathering additional information and exploring alternatives.

"It's not just about relevant organisations but also teachers, parents and other stakeholders," she said.

She expected all committee members to engage in brainstorming, listing down pros and cons of each available choice, and assessing which one was best in the interests of children.

Pending the process to gather additional information, the NCPO has suspended all tablet procurement plans for the scheme. The |move has also affected the 2013 |procurement plan for one of the four school zones. This zone has not yet got a new supplier when the NCPO came to power via a coup last month. Its original supplier was so late in tablet delivery that the Office of |Basic Education Commission cancelled the purchase contract with it and started looking for a new supplier.

NCPO has put ministries related to social psychology, which includes the Education Ministry, under the supervision of Narong. Surachet is appointed Narong's deputy in this supervisory work.




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