About 60,000 teachers who were required to teach Prathom 1 students to use tablet computers as part of their lessons have not yet received their own devices a year after the programme was launched.
Prathom 1 students who received their tablets a year ago were unable to receive guidance from teachers.
The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at the beginning of this month signed a contract to buy about 60,000 tablets for the teachers of Prathom 1 students.
However, about 860,000 Prathom 1 students who were given tablets last year have now moved on to Prathom 2.
The year-long delay in distributing the tablets arose from a disagreement over the tablet specifications between the authorities and Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development Co, the Chinese supplier.
An agreement has now been reached.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Minister Anudith Nakornthap said the tablets for the teachers are expected to arrive in the next few months.
Surapol Navamavadhana, an adviser to the ICT minister, said the contract was signed on July 2 to procure 59,384 tablets at a cost of $87.35 (2,700 baht) for each unit. All of the tablets are expected to be delivered within 60 days.
He said teachers' tablet specifications were similar to first graders' except for the HDMI port which could transfer data from the source device to a compatible computer monitor, projector or digital television.
Nannapath Sriprateth, a Prathom 1 teacher at Rajavinit School, said all of her students who received tablets had already passed on to Prathom 2 and took the devices with them.
"There is no sign of when the teachers' tablets will come," she said. "Last year I had to share the tablet with students during class, or use the device of a student who was absent that day."
She said the delay would not cause her much of a problem personally because she already understood how to use the tablets.
However, the policy clearly stated that teachers would be provided with the tablets and it should be carried out, she said.
An Education Ministry source said the delay meant the tablets would be obsolete by the time the teachers received them.
He said the price also appears to be too high, given the delay.
"Are we at a disadvantage for buying tablets for teachers which may be outdated?" the source said.
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- Writer: Lamphai Intathep