It has been a year since the Thai education system ignored doomsday predictions and launched its biggest new programme in recent memory. Almost every first-grade student in the country put down pencils and spent at least an hour a day with his or her personal tablet. The devices were supplied to fulfil an election promise by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. But the significance of the project goes far beyond politics.
The National Statistical Office (NSO) recently surveyed key participants and came up with interesting conclusions, as detailed in this newspaper on Monday. But it did not measure what is arguably the most significant achievement of the "One Child, One Tablet" programme: that teachers and the whole range of Education Ministry bureaucrats have embraced and supported the initiative.
This seems to prove the ministry is not quite as ancient and hidebound as many have argued. The biggest complaint by teachers in the NSO survey was that many were still waiting for their personal tablets, even though all their students already had them. This flies in the face of some pre-tablet criticism that teachers would leave the devices in their boxes and continue their top-down rote teaching. This has not happened; 98.8% of classrooms nationwide used the tablets. Even shoddy internet access and lack of electricity failed to halt the project.