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  1. #21
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    Re: Update: China tablet PCs contract for schools turns into a fiasco

    Ministry demonstrates tablet usage
    WANNAPA KHAOPA,
    SAOWANEE NIMPANPAYUNGWONG,
    SUPINDA NA MAHACHAI
    THE NATION April 4, 2012 1:00 am

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    The Education Ministry yesterday showed Prathom 1 students easy ways to access their computer tablets and enter lessons and applications. The Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) approved of the simple access.

    "They just need to touch on the screen a few times, and then enter any programmes they want," an official said.

    First, the official touched an icon called Por 1 in Thai (Grade 1). The tablet showed the new page with icons of five subjects including the English language, maths, Thai, social studies and science, songs for learning and other applications such as voice recording, lost and found and the academic calendar.

    When he touched an icon for any subject, all the learning objects for each period on that subject appeared. Students could enjoy learning from the multimedia lessons they preferred.

    Obec secretary-general Chinnapat Bhumirat said it had reduced the access procedure after pilot schools using the tablets said there were too many steps for entering applications and lessons.

    As many as 336 learning objects for the five subjects would be installed in each tablet, plus PDF files. Chinnapat said Obec would provide a dictionary and drawing and painting applications and was considering if it should provide a multiplication table, chanting book and other applications.

    Chinnapat said all the information installed in each tablet would use at least half of the 8GB memory. If any schools found other helpful applications, there would be space available to install them.

    Education Minister Suchart Tadathamrongvej said the government would buy one million tablets for Prathom 1 students in both government and private institutions, requiring a Bt2.4 billion budget.

    He said vocational institutions in 77 provinces would help with maintenance, and Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development would give a two-year warrantee.

    The Information and Communi-cations Technology Ministry is drafting the purchase contract. Reports said the contract would be checked for approval by the Office of the Attorney General first.

    Chinnapat said the first batch of 2,000 tablets would come to Thailand 15 days after the contract is signed.

    Obec will train 549 supervisors to help instruct 54,900 Prathom 1 teachers during this summer vacation to be ready to teach their pupils using the tablets when school reopens.

  2. #22
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    Re: Update: China tablet PCs contract for schools turns into a fiasco

    School tablet concerns mount
    Published: 20/04/2012 at 08:28 PMOnline news: Local News


    New questions have emerged about the Chinese supplier chosen for the government's high-profile school tablet computer programme.

    Claims that Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development's manufacturing capacity may have been greatly exaggerated are the latest in a series of setbacks that have led to delays in getting the programme started.

    Free tablet computers for schoolchildren was one of the main promises the Pheu Thai Party used in its successful election campaign last year.

    However, there have since been repeated delays in signing a contract with the little-known company that the Chinese government had recommended to Thailand.

    A source familiar with the issue said yesterday that Shenzhen Scope could produce only 1,000 tablets per day, not 24,000 as the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) ministry had announced earlier.

    The committee overseeing the tablet programme was told that the supplier has a daily capacity to assemble only the external parts for around 24,000 tablets, excluding internal components, said the source.

    Producing 24,000 complete units would require far more than one day unless the supplier could double or triple its manufacturing capacity. "If not, it would lead to a delay in tablet distribution to students," he said.

    Pheu Thai had pledged to distribute tablets to Pathom 1 students countrywide in time for the second semester in June.

    However, the signing of the contract under a memorandum of understanding between the ICT Ministry's permanent secretary and Scope has been postponed repeatedly.

    The source said the contract was finished and had been sent to the Office of the Attorney-General for review.

    But it cannot be signed yet because Scope recently asked to change a key term, reducing the warranty period for batteries to one year from two. Other parts would still be guaranteed for two years.

    The supplier claimed that the international standard for battery warranties was only one year, said the source.

    "Yes, the international standard on battery warranties is one year, but the supplier itself proposed to provide a two-year warranty including the battery during the bidding," he said.

    "It has to keep its word and, importantly, the period of the warranty is one of important reasons the tablet committee chose that supplier."

    In addition, Scope had promised to set up 30 service and repair centres all across Thailand for the tablets but now it wants to set up only 12.

    "A negotiation is required before making any change, and it must provide advantages rather than disadvantages to the country. All steps must be taken carefully as any changes would raise questions about transparency," said the source.

    If and when the contract is eventually signed, 2,000 tablets would be sent to Thailand for final tests before a manufacturing order is issued.

    The company would then be obliged to send the first lot of 400,000 tablets within 28 days, followed by another 560,000 units.

    For its part, the government would be obliged to pay an advance equivalent to 15% of the 1.9 billion baht total to Scope before it begins production.

    BANGKOK POST

  3. #23
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    Re: Update: China tablet PCs contract for schools turns into a fiasco

    Supplier told to sign or forfeit

    Published: 1/05/2012 at 01:49 AMNewspaper section: News


    The Chinese company chosen to supply 1 million tablet computers to the Thai government has been given a week to sign the contract or lose the deal.

    The ultimatum follows six weeks of delays to the signing of the deal. The devices are to be given to Thai school children as promised in the Pheu Thai Party's election campaign last year.

    The Information and Communication Technology Ministry told Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development yesterday to sign the 2.4-billion-baht contract in seven days or forfeit.

    "We will be back at square one if Scope fails to sign the sales and delivery contract," ICT permanent secretary Jirawan Boonperm said.

    "The ICT Ministry will either call a new bidding contest or allow the first runner-up, TCL Corporation, to take over."

    The cabinet in February approved the purchase of 1 million tablets from Scope at US$81 each.

    Under the agreement, Scope is required to deliver the first batch of 400,000 tablets within 60 days after the signing of an agreement. The remaining 600,000 tablets will be delivered 30 days later.

    But Scope recently said it had a production capacity to make only 1,000 tablets a day, which contradicted its initial claim of being able to produce 24,000 units a day.

    The company has also failed to post a deposit worth 5% of the total purchase value of 2.4 billion baht as a delivery guarantee, a source at the Office of Basic Education Commission said.

    The source said Scope also asked the Thai government to reduce the guarantee from two years to one year and the number of service centres from 30 to 12.

    Ms Jirawan, who is responsible for the tablet signing agreement, said the government has insisted that it could not revise any of the terms of the deal as to do so may violate the state's procurement regulations. Any changes would also be unfair to the other three competitors _ TCL, Haier and Huawei.Education Minister Suchart Thada-Thamrongvech said the problem with Scope would delay the distribution of the tablets to students by at least two months.

    BANGKOK POST

  4. #24
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    Re: Update: China tablet PCs contract for schools turns into a fiasco

    CT signs $32m tablet PC contract
    Published: 10/05/2012 at 07:35 PMOnline news: Local News

    The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology signed a US$32.8 million contract with a Chinese tablet computer supplier on Friday.

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    ICT Minister Anudith Nakornthap said the first consignment of 400,000 tablets manufactured by Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development Co Ltd will be delivered to Thailand within 60 days and there would be a repeat order of a maximum one million units.

    The tablets come with a 1.2 GHz single core CPU, 1GB RAM, a 3,600mAh lithium-polymer battery and a two-year warranty.

    They will be distributed to all Prathom 1 (Grade 1) primary students under the Pheu Thai-led government's One Tablet PC Per Child scheme, aimed at promoting a knowledge-based and network-connected society.

    The Ministry of Education is responsible for the content to be installed in the devices.

    BANGKOK POST

  5. #25
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    Re: Update: China tablet PCs contract for schools turns into a fiasco

    Tablet PCs for students plan 'needs modifying'
    Prathom 4 kids benefit more than first-graders

    Published: 12/05/2012 at 03:12 AMNewspaper section: News


    The government's tablet computer distribution plan benefits students and has no obvious negative impacts, but should be targeting Prathom 4 (Grade 4) students rather than Prathom 1, says an official study.

    "Preliminarily, the study finds no obvious negative impacts on students," said Chalermchai Boonyaleepun, president of Srinakharinwirot University which conducted the study.

    The analysis found that students benefited in the areas of technological skills and creative thinking.

    "They are more happy, enthusiastic and interested in learning. They also have an opportunity to learn to take care of valuable things like tablet computers," Mr Chalermchai said.

    Prathom 4 students were learning via tablets faster and better than the younger grade, the study found.

    "So, it is more worthwhile to give the tablets to Prathom 4 students, not Prathom 1," said Mr Chalermchai.

    The only impact the tablets had on the development of Prathom 1 students was boost the amount of revision they did of their lessons, he said.

    The study found that tablet use had no impact on illness, free-time activities, junk food consumption, muscle development, concentration levels and sleeping hours for both grades of students.

    It did find that students suffered from eye strain, irritation and teary eyes.

    "Still, we cannot yet conclude that those symptoms are results of tablet computer use," Mr Chalermchai said.

    The study on the potential impact of tablet devices on young users was launched by the Office of the Basic Eduction Commission under former education minister Woravat Auapinyakul.

    Around 500 Prathom 1 and Prathom 4 students in five pilot schools were given Lenovo-brand tablets to use from January to March.

    The schools were Rachawinit School and Srinakharinwirot University Prasarnmit Demonstration School in Bangkok, Anuban Lampang School in Lampang, Anuban Phangnga School in Phangnga and Sanambin School in Khon Kaen.

    Students were not allowed to take their tablet PCs home.

    Teachers were found to have some difficulties handling classes where students were learning using tablets.

    In some cases, students taught teachers how to use certain applications, which might have the negative psychological impact of students losing respect for their teachers, Mr Chalermchai said.

    Most teachers still need technical assistance in order to use the tablets when teaching.

    Therefore, at least one technical staffer must be stationed at every school, especially small ones, he said.

    Talks with teachers, executives, parents and communities revealed they thought students should not be allowed to take the devices home as they might then use them to access inappropriate online content.

    Parents said the government should organise training for them on how to use tablets, and that an adequate national internet infrastructure needed to be put in place before widespread tablet distribution.

    "I do not know if the government will use this study to amend its tablet policy or not. But a government decision to spend a lot of taxpayers' money, affecting several million people, should not be based on a feeling or opinion," said Mr Chalermchai.

    "I would like to see government decision-making, when it comes to public policies, being based on academic data," he added.

    BANGKOK POST

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