Thai One Tablet Per Child budget doubled

Thai One Tablet Per Child budget doubled

Don Sambandaraksa  |   January 27, 2012
telecomasia.net
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The recent cabinet reshuffle in Thailand has breathed new life into the floundering One Tablet Per Child project, with the new Education Minister promising to distribute 900,000 tablets to all first grade students and some forth grade students.
 
The original project had morphed from an election promise of one tablet per child to one tablet for first grade students, and later became smaller still, with the promise only for schools that were ready. Then there were reports that schools had asked to buy desktop PCs instead of tablets as they could be more efficiently shared, making the original election pledge a faint memory.
 
Newly appointed Education Minister Professor Suchart Thadathamrongvej made the announcement on his first day in office, along with clarification that he would be almost doubling the budget from 1 billion baht to 1.9 billion baht ($60 million).
 
The additional 900 million would be taken from the mid-year contingency budget that does not need to be ratified by parliament.
 
He also said that the tablets would be sourced from China, contradicting earlier reports that it would be piggy-backed on the Indian Aakash tablet.
 
However, that works out at just 2,111 baht ($67) per tablet, but is still a more realistic target than his predecessor who promised 700,000 tablets with a 1 billion baht budget, or $45 per tablet.
 
Earlier Lenovo donated 600 IdeaPad A1 Android tablets to the Ministry of Education for a pilot project in the hope of landing a contract.
Don Sambandaraksa
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