Panel sets terms for tablet auction

The board committee looking after the government's tablet computer scheme will set up a panel to outline its terms of reference for an electronic auction to buy 1.8 million tablets.

The tablets will be given to Prathom 1 (Grade 1) and Mathayom 1 (Grade 7) students nationwide next term as part of the government's "one tablet per child policy".

The devices will cost about 5 billion baht in total, said Chinnapat Bhumirat, secretary-general of the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec), who is also a member of the committee.

Mr Chinnapat said Obec has to submit the terms of reference for the auction this month. The auction will take place after the cabinet approves the terms of reference and the purchase.

Of the 1,803,337 tablet computers, Mr Chinnapat said 1,601,977 of them will be distributed to schools under the Education Ministry, and 178,946 devices to schools under the Interior Ministry.

More than 16,500 of the devices will go to schools under the National Office of Buddhism, 3,257 devices to schools under the Royal Thai Police Office, 1,811 to schools under the Culture Ministry, and 776 to schools under the Institute of Physical Education. Each tablet computer for Prathom 1 and Mathayom 1 students will cost the government 2,720 baht and 2,920 baht respectively.

Once the cabinet approves the terms of reference for the auction of the tablets, Obec will announce the bidding as open.

Mr Chinnapat said each education jurisdiction is required to sign its own procurement contract with the tablet companies.

There are four rounds of bidding. Obec will purchase about 400,000 tablet computers in each round. It will purchase tablet computers for Prathom 1 students in the first two rounds of bidding and for Mathayom 1 students in the last two rounds of bidding.

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Writer: Lamphai Intathep
Position: Reporter