Thai education minister denies 30% of free tablet computers bust in first year

Thai education minister denies 30% of free tablet computers bust in first year

Confirming that the Education Ministry would continue its "One Tablet per Child" project next year, Minister Chaturon Chaisang yesterday denied that the 30 per cent of computer tablets reported broken in the academic year 2012 represented the overall picture.

Chaturon was responding to a report by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) that 259,000 computer tablets - or 30 per cent of the 858,886 devices handed out - were damaged.

He said Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) chief Apichart Jeerawuth had discovered the 30 per cent figure came from a random OAG inspection of 990 tablets at 80 schools in 12 education zones across 11 provinces, which found 295 were broken. Hence the sample group only represented 0.2 per cent of the approximately 30,000 schools.

Chaturon said the Information and Communication Technology Ministry reported that from August 2012 to August 2013, a total of 5,344 computer tablets were broken, representing just 0.62 per cent of the 858,886 devices handed out. Of these, 3,571 suffered hardware damage while 1,773 had software problems, he added.

He said no tablet-repair centres had been closed, but added three such centres had been relocated in their areas.

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