Tablet delivery under way

The government held a ceremony marking the delivery of the first batch of tablet computers to Prathom 1 students Wednesday.

A worker loads boxes labelled "One Tablet Per Child" on to a truck at the Education Ministry in Bangkok. The ministry sent off trucks on Wednesday to deliver the first batch of 55,000 tablet computers to primary schools in eight provinces. The government plans to distribute 800,000 PC tablets to Prathom 1 (Grade 1) schoolchildren nationwide. The devices are made in China. CHANAT KATANYU

It was also announced that two billion baht has been earmarked for next year to buy more of the devices, which will go to students in Grade 7.

Education Minister Suchart Thada-Thamrongvech and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Minister Anudith Nakornthap presided over the ceremony to send off 55,000 tablets.

The devices will be distributed to Prathom 1 or Grade 1 schoolchildren in 20 education service area offices in eight provinces _ Krabi, Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Kalasin, Khamphaeng Phet, Khon Kaen, Chanthaburi and Chachoengsao following Thai alphabetical order.

"The students who will receive the tablets will be able to take them home, if parents and teachers allow them. The children will have ownership of the tablets after three years," Mr Suchart said. He said all 800,000 tablets will be delivered to Prathom 1 students this year.

The ministry is developing learning content for Grade 2-4 students in digital form. This will be made available online for downloading by students and teachers once it is completed.

Office of Basic Education Commission secretary-general Chinnapat Bhumirat said the government has earmarked 2 billion baht to acquire a further 700,000 tablets. The money will be part of the 2013 budget bill that is still awaiting approval by parliament.

Mr Anudith said the ICT Ministry has randomly inspected the 55,000 tablets and found only seven defective ones, which will be sent back to the Chinese supplier. "That number is acceptable and we have replacements for the broken ones," he said.

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Writer: Lamphai Intathep
Position: Reporter