The Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) wants a budget of 2.7 billion baht to develop content for the Education Ministry's plan to give students and teachers nationwide each a tablet computer, to promote equal opportunity in education.
Obec secretary-general Thanu Wongchinda said the tablet distribution programme could not be put into effect this year. The office must first develop apps to preload onto the computers.
The office was still considering if the bundle should cover all nine subjects or only core subjects. He said it will first be introduced on an experimental basis, to ensure it is cost-effective and meets its purpose.
He said the tablets will be provided to Mathayom 4-6 students, teachers and education supervisors in the pilot phase, expected to begin next year. Younger students may not have the needed skills to use the devices.
The pilot phase is also likely to be limited to a selected education zone, which covers 245 schools, before being expanded. It will take four years for the tablet distribution scheme to cover all schools nationwide, Mr Thanu said.
The office supports of the use of technology to promote learning and education management. Still, it will be carried out gradually to avoid placing a financial burden on the country, he said.
Obec will also consult with relevant agencies in drafting an action plan to ease the administrative burden on teachers, so they can devote more time to teaching, he said.
The tablet distribution scheme is part of Education Minister Permpoon Chidchob’s policy to cut parents’ expenses and reduce disparities in opportunities for education.
It has drawn words of caution from various sectors, which support the use of technology to aid the learning process and reduce inequality in education but are also sceptical about the cost and practicality of the programme.