The Office of the Basic Education Commission said yesterday the government had failed to give it enough money to buy the tablet computers which it must supply to all Prathom 1 pupils.
Chinnapat Phumirat, secretary-general of the office, said the office had received 1.18 billion baht, which is about 360 million baht less than it needs. The shortfall may force the office to take money out of a school expense subsidy fund and its treasury reserve, as recommended by the Budget Bureau.
The 1.18 billion baht would only be enough to buy about 470,000 units, well short of the more than 560,000 Prathom 1 pupils that will be entering education in the coming school year, Mr Chinnapat said. Earlier, the panel in charge of the One Tablet Per Child policy said the office would buy one million tablets for US$82 (2,530 baht).
The tablet scheme was a major policy plank of the Pheu Thai government during last year's election.
The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology yesterday finalised the contract for the purchase of Chinese tablet computers for young Thai students and will send the draft to the Office of the Attorney-General for approval on Monday.
Minister Anudith Nakornthap said that if the office approves the contract, Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development Co will endorse it.
After the contract signing, the supplier will deliver 2,000 samples to Thai authorities for extensive testing, Mr Anudith said. The test will also cover peripherals and mostly concern technical aspects such as processing content and electric surge protection.
All the samples must pass the test and then big-lot production of the tablet computers can start. He said if the test finds any glitches, the supplier will be allowed to address them. If the test reveals critical defects with the main system of the computers, the supplier selection process will start all over again.