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Education IT

Thailand to hold e-auctions for 1.69 mil tablets deal

Thai government will purchase 1.69 million computer tablets for education via four lots of e-auction and open for both local and foreign companies to take part.

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Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Pongthep Thepkanjana revealed last week that the government had decided to organise four e-auctions on the same day because the purchase involve a large number of devices. The government also encouraged both Thai and foreign companies to participate in the auctions.

The purchase is for the nationwide roll out of the world’s largest education IT to give away tablets to every first grade students and seventh grade students under the government campaign promise of ‘One Tablet Per Child’ policy following this year’s distribution of nearly 900,000 units given to first graders nationwide.

Dividing the auction into four lots will encourage more companies to bid, making the auction more competitive and enabling the government to get the lowest price,” Thepkanjana said.

Using this year’s purchase of the tablets at THB 2,460 (US$ 82) as a reference price, the Education Minister expected to purchase at a lower price this time.

Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) was tasked to draft a time frame for the procurement and ensure that the students would receive the device before the commencing of 2013 academic year.

The OBEC Secretary General Chinnapatr Phummirat said that the tablets would be supplied to students from schools under the jurisdiction of the Education Ministry (MOE) and Interior Ministry (MOI) which involve schools under Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Pattaya City and etc. Of the 1.69 million units, the OBEC will buy up to 1.2 million units for schools under the MOE.

“Of which 574,826 are for first graders, and 656,884 are for the seventh graders,” he said. The OBEC has been allocated THB 4.4 billion (US$ 143.35 million) to be used for the purchase as well as for operational expenses related to this project.

Of the total budget for 1.69 million devices, THB 933 million (US$ 30.4 million) is allocated from the MOI, THB 5.4 billion (US$ 175.9 million ) from the MOE, and THB 72 million (US$ 2.34 million )from other government agencies involving in this project.

The OBEC also revealed the specification for the devices for both grades with an average price of THB 2,800 (US$ 91), which is higher than the previous purchase due to more requirement on the specification.

The OBEC wants the tablets to come with both back and front camera to allow students to scan barcodes from educational materials. Also, it wants to increase RAM from 512MB to 1GB and the speed from 1.2GHz to 1.5GHz. The size of the screen shall remain the same (7 inches). The specification will still need to pass the public hearing procedures before launching it officially.

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