New batches of tablet computers distributed to Prathom 1 (Grade 1) students under the government's "one tablet per child" policy should be be insured, says Deputy Education Minister Sermsak Pongpanich.
Sermsak: Coverage for all ‘mishaps’
Mr Sermsak said he has proposed the Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) arrange a special insurance package for tablet computers for all Prathom 1 students on top of a contract it signed earlier with Thai Joint Venture System, parent company of Advice Distribution, for the repair of tablet computers.
The Obec is now awaiting cabinet approval for an auction to procure about 1.8 million tablet computers. The devices will be distributed to Prathom 1 and Mathayom 1 (Grade 7) students when the next school term starts in May.
The first batch of 860,000 tablet computers were distributed to pupils in July last year.
A ministry source said the supply of 8,600 spare tablet computers, which are used as replacements for faulty or damaged devices, had now been exhausted.
The 860,000 tablets bought last year and supplied by Chinese firm Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development were insured for two years. The insurance, however, was limited only to damage caused by the manufacturer, while schools or parents had to pay for loss of devices or damage caused by users.
Mr Sermsak said the proposed insurance package for the new batch of tablet computers must cover all mishaps, including loss or damage.
If the devices are insured, schools would allow students to take them home. Schools and parents would feel at ease as they need not cover repair costs.
"Most schools have a policy not to allow students to take them home, as they are worried the tablets could end up damaged," he said. "But if tablet computers are taken home, students and their parents could search for knowledge." Extra money may be set aside for the insurance package, he said.