Thailand to ink $70.6M tablet deal with China

Deal to purchase 900,000 tablet devices from China will fulfill one of ruling party's major pre-election promise but detractors say lack of content a drawback, report notes.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

The Thai government will ink a 2.2 billion baht (US$70.6 million) deal with its Chinese counterparts next month to purchase 900,000 tablet devices for its students as it looks to fulfill its one-child-one-tablet promise made during the country's general elections last July. 

In a report by the Bangkok Post on Monday, three Chinese manufacturers--ZTE, Huawei, and Lenovo--are in the running to produce the tablet, according to a source from the country's Office of the Basic Education Commission. The source added the price for one tablet is 2,340 baht (US$75), which is below the original target price of 3,400 baht (US$109).

The tablets will be distributed to 800,000 primary school students, while the remaining 100,000 will be issued to Prathom 4 (fourth-grade) students in the country, the report noted. 

The one-child-one-tablet policy was one of the major election promises made by the  Pheu Thai ruling party, and the cost of the project could rise to 33 billion baht (US$1.06 billion) should the government decide to issue the devices to all secondary school students too, the Bangkok Post stated. 

Critics of the initiative, however, said the lack of suitable educational content was the main drawback while others were concerned if schools or parents are able to monitor the children's use of the tablets and to prevent them accessing inappropriate content, it added.

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