An ambitious election campaign promise realized as a government mega project, Thailand’s One Tablet Per Child Policy (OTPC) is a crucial milestone in the country’s education reform. It has the aim of empowering young students with latest pedagogy and learning experience regardless of location, distance, and socio-economic standing.
A total of THB 3 billion (US$ 96 million) were spent on the world’s largest order—nearly 900,000 tablet PCs for education, from which the government has successfully placed 868,886 in the hands of first grade students countrywide.
“We are the pioneers in ordering a large number of tablets and handing them out to elementary students”, says Gp Capt Navamavadhana, Advisor to the ICT Minister in Thailand.
Navamavadhana was involved in all elements of the OTPC process. He is a committee member and Assistant Secretary to the OTPC Policy Commission, a chairman of Technical Sub-committee purchasing the tablets, and a technical advisor to the Tablet Inspection and Reception Commission.
The OTPC project is collaboration between the Education Ministry (MOE
) and ICT Ministry (MICT) in which the former is responsible for the project’s implementation and the later for the purchase of devices, and software integration.
Navamavadhana headed his team’s visit to China to carefully inspect, compare and select appropriate devices. Finally, the MICT decided to spend THB 2460 (US$82) per device, each of which features Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, 1GB RAM, 1.2 GHz single core CPUs, and storage capacity of 8GB. The MICT was given from February until early November this year to complete market research, purchase, software development, and distribution of all the tablets including an additional 55,000 tablets with different specifications for teachers.
Although the purchase was completed and the devices have been securely delivered to students, Navamavadhana cannot sit back and feel relief. For him, this is merely a small step towards reforming the country’s education system.
To further expand the OTPC project to successfully reform Thai education, the government has in mind the idea of giving tablets with different specifications to students from different grades.Future details