Pattaya first-graders will receive 1,500 tablet computers as part of the national government’s “one tablet per child” initiative.
Pattaya Education Office Director Jintana Maensurin said the Prathom 1 pupils will be allowed to keep the Chinese-made, Android-powered tablets for two years, using them in class and at home to study reading and writing.
“I believe that the one tablet per child project will help innovate the education system,” she said, adding, “The tablets will have software to prevent children from accessing the Internet inappropriately.”
Jintana Maensurin, director of the Pattaya Education Office, with one of the new tablet computers front right on her desk.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra proposed the “one tablet per child” initiative as part of her election campaign last year. The government this year purchased 860,000 seven-inch “Scopads” from supplier Shenzhen Scope for $81 each as part in a government-to-government purchase. Pattaya is one of the last cities to receive its allotment.
Jintana said teachers have been trained to teach courses with tablet use in mind, as the Ministry of Education has loaded the tablets with reading, writing and storybook programs.
Wireless Internet access, a key feature in tablet computers, remains a problem, however. Jintana said most schools only offer Wi-Fi in their libraries, but the city is talking with TOT Public Co. to outfit schools with campus-wide access.
Jintana admitted the technology is a bit scary for the young children, with many refusing to take the tablets home for fear of losing or breaking them. Parents also must place a deposit against loss or damage before they are allowed to remove the tablets from school property.