Thailand buys 1 million tablets for kids

2012-05-10 14:47 Bangkok - Thailand bought 1 million tablet computers from a Chinese company for its primary school students on Thursday, fulfilling one of the government's campaign promises.

The $82m purchase was signed between Thailand's Information and Communication Technology Ministry and China's Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development Company.

"We expect to give the first 400 000 tablets to students by July," said Information and Communication Technology Minister Anudith Nakorntap.

Initially, the government had vowed to provide the tablets to primary students nationwide by this month, the beginning of the academic year.

Delays


The purchase was delayed several months by disputes over the contract conditions with the Chinese company.

The Pheu Thai Party, which leads the coalition government, promised to provide the country's 860 000 primary school students with the computers as part of its campaign in the July 3 general election.

The One Tablet PC Per Child campaign promise was one of a series of populist policies which helped the party come to power.

Specifications for the tablets included at least 512 megabytes of processing memory, 7-inch screens and a 16-gigabyte hard disk.

The purchase has drawn criticism, including concerns about the quality of the Chinese-made tablets, which cost $82 each, and provoked fears that students might not use the devices for studying.