Schools get tablets tomorrow
Pathom 1 students in eight provinces are set to get their hands on tablet computers under the government's One Tablet Per Child (OTPD) project very soon."We will have 55,712 tablets dispatched to their schools by Friday," Education Minister Suchart Tadathamrongvej said yesterday.
He was speaking as 30 trucks were about to start their delivery trips to schools in Bangkok, Krabi, Kanchanaburi, Kalasin, Kamphaeng Phet, Khon Kaen, Chanthaburi and Chachoengsao.
The tablets are being sent to these provinces first because they are the first eight in Thai alphabetical order.
"The tablet will revolutionise the teaching and learning process," Suchart said. He added that his ministry had prepared content for the devices and trained teachers to use them.
The OTPC project is one of the Pheu Thai Party's much-touted election policies. However, its implementation has been hit by delays. Initially, the government planned to have the tablets ready for all Pathom 1 students at the beginning of the 2012 academic year, or two months ago.
The government bought the tablets from a Chinese supplier.
According to Information and Communications Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap, quality checks have detected problems in just seven of the 35,000 tablets being tested.
"There are warranty services too." He added that there would be 30 centres to provide after-sales services in Thailand.
Chinnapat Bhumirat, secretary-general of the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec), said the first purchase contract would provide tablets for just 48 per cent of all Pathom 1 students.
"But we have already submitted a repeat order," he said.
Suchart said his ministry planned to have tablets available for all school students within the next five years. His ministry would start preparing the purchase of tablets for Mathayom 1 students in November.
"Also, we will encourage private firms to buy tablets for children under their corporate social responsibility activities," he said. "We plan to involve the private sector in the tablet purchases for Pathom 2 students."
Suchart said parents and their children must sign contracts to receive the tablets. Although the devices will be lent to them on a yearly basis, they will finally be given to |the students after they have used them for three years.