All Prathom 1 and some Mathayom 1 students will receive free tablet computers as part of the second phase of the government's "One Tablet PC Per Child" policy by December, Education Minister Chaturon Chaisaeng says.
The minister has approved the purchase of about 800,000 tablets from Shenzhen Yitoa Intelligent Control Co of China for all Prathom 1 students, and 402,889 tablets from Jasmine Telecom Systems for Mathayom 1 students in the northern and northeastern provinces.
Contracts will be signed this month and the two suppliers are required to distribute the devices within 90 days of the signing ceremony.
"However, the purchase of tablets for Mathayom 1 students in central and southern provinces has been cancelled and the distribution will be delayed," Mr Chaturon said.
He had asked the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec), which was responsible for the tablet procurement for the central and southern provinces, to cancel these contracts after the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) said the bidding contests for the two regions might have been rigged.
Supreme Distribution won the bid to provide 426,683 tablets for the two regions for 2,908.24 baht apiece, or only 0.4% lower than the 2,920-baht median price.
The company had the right to appeal against the ministry's order to cancel the bidding result.
Mr Chaturon said, however, he would go ahead in calling a new bidding contest.
"It is gone beyond us now as the OAG has raised concerns about possible bid-rigging," he said.