Author Topic: ELECTION CAMPAIGN'S PROMISE  (Read 1538 times)

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Offline thaiga

« on: April 20, 2012, 12:35:01 PM »
Tablet project is in jeopardy

Delay in signing of contract and Chinese firm's backtracking on commitments put deal in doubt

BANGKOK: -- The Pheu Thai government's ambitious but troubled plan to hand out computer tablets to nearly a million schoolchildren is in danger of collapsing because the Chinese suppliers are reportedly putting off the signing of the contract, sources told The Nation yesterday.

Even if the contract does get signed eventually and the plan goes ahead, it is now almost certain that the government will miss its deadline by weeks, if not months, of delivering tablets to Grade 1 students. The Yingluck Shinawatra administration was planning to hand out tablets to 900,000 children when schools reopen mid next month. However, this timeframe is very unrealistic now due to a tug of war over the signing of the contract.

"If this project had been initiated by the bureaucracy, it would have been scrapped already," one source said. "But this is an election promise, so the government has no choice but to muddle through it," a source said.

The sources are blaming the Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development for the escalating uncertainties. The Chinese supplier has reportedly backtracked on a previously agreed two-year guarantee on its products, claiming that the battery could not possibly last that long. There have also been other instances of backtracking, like the firm cutting down on its post-sale service centres from 30 to just 12.

As it will take about 90 days after the contract is signed for the first batch of tablet PCs to be delivered, the government could miss its deadline by several weeks. And this is assuming the contract will be signed soon.

"Bureaucrats involved in the acquisition process are becoming doubtful," one source said.

When asked if it would be better for everyone if the project was just scrapped, he replied: "In that case, the whole government will be hurt."

The acquisition process has been plagued by problems from the very start. First the Information and Communications Technology Ministry announced that the bidding for the project had been completed, before denying it and then blaming the media for misinterpreting its first round of screening as the final outcome. The murkiness of the deal then intensified speculation about why a giant Chinese firm, an initial favourite to win the contract, had not won the bidding. Then the signing of the contract kept getting delayed. The initial explanation was that Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development was unable to get a bank guarantee in China. Yesterday was the first time that information emerged about how the Chinese firm and the Thai government were locking horns over contractual details.

"The Chinese have been seeking to make a lot of changes," the source said. "Some of these changes are acceptable, but others are simply not consistent with our requirements."

According to the source, the Chinese have been going back and forth with different annexes, making it difficult for the Thai negotiators to catch up. At one point, the Chinese firm sought an advance guarantee from the Thai side so as to facilitate their quest for a bank guarantee. Then they demanded partial payment and called for some of the production burden to be absorbed by the government.

The sources said they had no idea how these differences would be ironed out in such a short period of time. Plus, the Thai side is getting restless now because the price of computer tablets is starting to swing considerably due to growing competition and new inventions are coming out virtually on a daily basis.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was given a Scope tablet to try out during her visit to China this week. It was a scene that belied the problems mounting over the project, which critics have dubbed wasteful due to the very young age of recipients and the short-life of technology gadgets nowadays.

Information and Communications Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap yesterday said it remained unclear as to when the purchase contract for 900,000 tablets would be signed. "The attorney-general has not yet approved the contract draft," he said. "We have to prepare all the necessary documents before the signing can take place". Anudith expected the first lot of tablets under the government's much-touted One Tablet Per Child project to reach schools in July.

He said although the contract would require the Chinese supplier to deliver all 900,000 tablets within 90 days, he believed the delivery of all tablets would be completed within 60 days after the signing of the contract.
The Nation
Song n dance
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline thaiga

Re: ELECTION PROMISE No deal on tablets, ministry prepares textbooks
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2012, 01:40:30 PM »
BANGKOK: -- The Education Ministry is now preparing for what could be called Plan B - to hand out textbooks to Prathom 1 students, because it has become apparent computer tablets will not reach their hands for the coming semester.

A  new term starts next month for school students across the country, but the government and its chosen Chinese supplier have failed to conclude a purchase contract.

Initially, the government planned to implement its much-publicised One Tablet Per Child (OTPC) scheme by handing close to one million tablets to all Prathom 1 students at the start of the upcoming semester.

"But we have a Plan B. We will rush to ensure that textbooks reach the students' hands before the new semester begins," Education Minister Suchart Tadathamrongvej said yesterday.

He said his ministry had a budget for textbook procurement.

It would also have to seek funds for the procurement of tablets for 500 selected teachers, scheduled to attend intensive training on the use of tablets so they can serve as trainers for other teachers.

Suchart said if a purchase contract was signed, the Chinese supplier would have to swiftly deliver 2,000 tablets to Thailand initially, as the devices would be needed for use in training.

"These 2,000 tablets are unlikely to reach Thailand in time, either," Suchart said.

In a related development, Srinakharinwirot University (SWU) president Asst Prof Dr Chalermchai Boonyaleepan said that a study on the use of tablets for learning in class would be concluded soon.

The Education Ministry had assigned the university to do this research.

Chalermchai said the findings would be done by yesterday(April 23), but the team would take some time to interpret the findings, which have shown both benefits and disadvantages of using tablets.

"We will release the findings in easy-to-understand language to the public in early May," Chalermchai said.
The Nation
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline thaiga

Computer tablets delivery could take nearly 3 years: Thai education ministry source

Chinese firm Shenzhen Scope says manufacturing capacity is 1,000 devices per day, not 20,000

BANGKOK: -- Thai students will likely have to wait longer than expected for their promised computer tablets, as the China-based provider can only produce around 1,000 per day, not 20,000 as it told Thai authorities previously, a source at the Education Ministry told The Nation yesterday.

Despite the expected delivery delay, training in use of the tablets by educational personnel, who will in turn act as trainers of educational supervisors, began yesterday in Bangkok.

Meanwhile, Srinakharinwirot University said it would release in early May the findings of a study on the benefits and disadvantages of using tablets in schools.

The source said the supplier, Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development, could produce 20,000 tablet chassis per day, but could only produce 1,000 completed units daily.

The Cabinet recently approved the purchase of 1 million tablet computers for elementary students - up from an initial 900,000. If the company has the capacity to produce only about 1,000 tablets a day, it will take up to 1,000 days - or two years and nine months - to finish manufacturing 1 million tablets.

Initially, the government planned to hand out the tablets to all Prathom 1 students at the start of the upcoming semester.

The source said the purchase contract had yet to be signed, as the company had backtracked on a previously agreed two-year warranty on its products because it claimed the battery could not last that long. It wanted to reduce the warranty of the battery to one year, while retaining a two-year warranty for the other parts.

One hundred personnel from the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec), Office of the Private Education Commission and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration began training at the Maxx Hotel Bangkok yesterday. The session ends Friday. They will train 549 educational supervisors from all provinces to instruct 54,900 Prathom 1 (Grade 1) teachers during the summer vacation. The tutorials will enable the teachers to instruct their pupils in using the tablets, said Anek Ratpiyapaporn, director of the Bureau of Technology for Teaching and Learning at Obec.

"As the company cannot produce the tablets ordered by the government now, we are using tablets of other brands that are normally used in Thailand. We use projectors to show them how to use the tablets. Over four days of training, they have to learn what tablets can do, how to use them, what content, applications and instructional media will be installed in them, and how to use tablets with the Internet, as well as computer law and ethics," Anek said.

"We cannot wait until the tablets from China arrive. Our supervisors and teachers have to be prepared. So, whenever the tablets come, they will be able to use them to teach in class. When the tablets arrive, we will retrain the 100 trainers in how to use tablets with the same specifications as those that will be distributed to students," he said.

After the 100 trainers are trained, they will be divided into five groups to train supervisors in different regions of the country. Later, each supervisor will train 100 Prathom 1 teachers. Around Bt200 million has been allocated for the training, Anek said.

Earlier, the bureau invested Bt300 million in creating 2,549 learning objects for elementary and secondary levels to be used with computers and tablets. Of those, 336 are for Prathom 1.

Anek said tablet use would increase schools' expenditures as it would increase electric bills.

Charging a tablet's battery consumed the same amount of electricity as running a light, he said.

The Nation
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline thaiga

Re: Department concerned at kids' tablet PC overuse
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2012, 10:34:18 AM »
Studying with the aid of a tablet computer for more than an hour a day could harm the psychological well-being of young students, a mental health expert warned yesterday.

Panpimol Wipulakorn, spokeswoman for the Department of Mental Health, said parents and teachers should keep a close eye on their children after they are given tablet computers as study aids by the government.

The devices will be distributed to Prathom 1 pupils under the government's one-tablet-per-child policy.

"Kids should use tablets for only 30 minutes to one hour a day because overusing them makes children aggressive and hot-tempered," Dr Panpimol said.

She made her remarks the same day as the Wall Street Journal reported that there have been no studies on the effects on young children who use tablet computers and that the consequences of the devices for developing young minds are still unknown.

She said the internet is a fast medium and if children spend too much time on it, they will become impatient.

She also said the department had been monitoring the intelligence of Thai students and found that 30% of Grade 1 students face delayed development, especially in reading and writing skills.

Delayed development could result from a lack of nutrients such as iodine and iron, a lack of good learning materials, or insufficient activities with their parents. But the tablets may also help develop children's learning abilities, especially in language, as they contain interactive and interesting content, she said.

Director-general of the Mental Health Department Narong Sahamethapat said parents should spend time using tablets with their children to give them advice on how to use the devices properly.

He said six and seven-year-old children need to develop all their skills, including writing, listening, movement and social skills. Those skills can be learned best by interacting with people.
A bit more b/s
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


  • Guest
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2012, 10:38:30 AM »
The first step towards backing away from the purchase of those tablets.

Offline thaiga

« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2012, 10:51:54 AM »

    A lot of expense for 30 mins use a day :uhm
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


  • Guest
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2012, 11:15:15 AM »
I may have written this previously but I don't see the point i buying tablets, especially crappy Chinese ones that will fail within weeks of purchase. The appropriate set up is is desk tops on a LAN with local control of what is accessible on the internet.

As everyone knows, I'm not cynical but, if I were, I'd probably list two reasons for buying this small, expensive and highly portable equipment from China:

1. It's cooool to talk about tablets. Everyone thinks you're hip, or whatever the word is these days.

2. It would be easy to miscount how many arrived.

Offline thaiga

« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2012, 12:36:50 PM »
First lot of 2,000 'One Tablet PC per Child' computers purchased from China received, 4-5 days needed to certify specifications before giving to Education Ministry: ICT Minister

TWITLONGER  now thats cooooooooooool N hip :lol
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.