Over two thousand schools in Thailand that don’t have electricity and the students who attend these schools will not be eligible to receive the new PC tablets that the government will be handing out to all Grade One students by the end of May 2012. Even more will be excluded that do not have “adequate facilities.” Read the full story here.
While Thailand is trying to catch up with the world in regards to technology, it runs the risk of creating an even greater divide between the the “haves” and the “have nots” through its government sponsored PC tablet program.
One of the campaign promises of the current administration was that it would supply a PC tablet to every child. Now they are working to make good on that promise by providing a basic PC tablet with educational games for various subjects including English.
I guess that if they have the money to do this then it could be considered a bold move to push Thailand forward in regards to using computers in the classroom. Or it could be a colossal waste of resources, especially considering the immediate needs being faced after the flooding.
Thailand is place where most of the PC hard drives are manufactured in the world. They are over 13 million Facebook users in Thailand and that number is steadily climbing. Thailand is working hard to catch up although a majority of its citizens live in rural areas with weak or little Wifi access or availability.
I wonder what kind of affect this PC tablet program will have on the overall quality of education in Thailand? Will the teachers be equipped to use them to help teach the children?
Or will it become another distraction to what some would say is an already distracted and failing education system? It has been said by others working in Thailand that “entertainment” seems to be the top value, not learning. Will this program contribute to that problem?
Is this simply another case of Thai “phak chee roy na”?
Phak Chee Roy Na: This is a saying in Thai that says if you garnish something nice enough, it will also make everything taste better!
Whatever the case may be, it would be beneficial for Thailand to take a serious look at how they could work to get basic electricity into these 2,000 schools and work on the overall quality of the content of education of its students, rather than giving everyone a shiny new PC from the government that will eventually need maintenance that most Thai families cannot afford.
The divide widens.