Thai ministry denies claim of 200,000 broken tablets

THAILAND - The Information and Communications Technology Ministry on Thursday insisted that only 3,244 devices bought under its "One Tablet per Child" programme were broken and sent for repair - not 200,000 as a news report claimed.

In the House of Representatives, Democrat MP for Pathum Thani Kiatisak Songsaeng questioned the tablet policy, saying the Office of the AuditorGeneral (OAG) had found that 200,000 devices out of the 860,000 bought for Bt2.6 billion (S$103 million) had broken.

ICT Minister Anudith Nakornthap said OAG official Pichet Trakulkan had said the figure was not as high as reported by the newspaper and the OAG did not say there was corruption. In fact, he said, the office even stated that it was a good project that should continue. From August 2012 to August this year there were 3,244 broken tablets sent for repair, he added.

Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang said the OAG report actually found 295 broken devices at 80 schools and affirmed that the tablets improved students' academic performance by 50 per cent. He said the ministry would continue the programme next year.