Education Ministry cancels tablet acquisition from China


BANGKOK, Feb 8 – The Education Ministry has decided to suspend procurement of over 900,000 tablet PCs from China and hold a new tender soon, according to caretaker minister Chaturon Chaisaeng.

He told reporters after chairing the “one tablet, one student” committee meeting yesterday that the devices, ordered from Shenzhen Ying Tang Intelligent Control Co of China, were originally to be distributed to Pathom 1 students nationwide.

Shenzhen Ying Tang, however, informed the Education Ministry on Jan 29 that they were cancelling the contract, citing Thailand’s political uncertainty.

Mr Chaturon said the ministry would demand back the Bt120million guarantee deposit and dock the Chinese company Bt100 million for delayed deliveries.

The Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) was instructed to organise the electronics tender for the tablet computers which should have been acquired in time for the new school year in June.

Specifications for the devices will remain unchanged in order to speed up the acquisition, he said.

Regarding an appeal by Supreme Distribution (Thailand) against the OBEC’s order to cancel tablet PCs contract for Matayom 1 students in the central and southern regions, Mr Chaturon said the Education Ministry would stand by the OBEC’s decision.

The supplier in Zone 4 which covers Matayom 1 students in the North and Northeast has delivered 18,000 units to the Obec, though slightly delayed.

He said the OBEC was instructed to compile a report on issues found unsuccessful from the project implementation, with an emphasis on how to prevent corruption, from delayed deliveries and an investigation by the Office of the Auditor General.

Specifications for new tablets to be acquired for the new academic year will also be worked out by the OBEc, he said.