The No.1 Google site in news & media category of SE Asia
Rohit Bajoria Professional banker and wealth manager MNC bank The Great SALE If your household is running on a deficit, where your expenses are more than what you earn, either you should reduce your expenses or increase income. More
One of the Pheu Thai party’s winning campaign promises in the recent (July 3) general election was to give Thailand’s elementary school students tablet computers.
Following their sweeping mandate from the voters, clearer heads began to prevail and the students that are to receive the tablet computers have been narrowed down to all Prathom 1 (Grade 1) students, still that is a total of 800,000 students nationwide.
The cost of the computers is to take 10 percent of the Education Department’s 70 billion baht yearly budget, 7 billion baht (US$232.35 million). The money was originally intended to purchase students school uniforms and textbooks.
However, a recent and extensive New York Times story about the use of laptops, interactive screens and software in the US that gave birth to IT, specifically in the Kyrene School District in the US state of Arizona, should be a “must read” for the education officials in Thailand.
In 2005, voters approved a budget of $33 million for the digital push, however, six years later, test scores in math and reading have stagnated, even though these scores have been improving statewide in Arizona.
A significant quote in the story comes from perhaps a leading proponent of this type of futuristic education: “The data is pretty weak. It’s very difficult when we’re pressed to come up with convincing data,” said Tom Vander Ark, the former executive director for education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and an investor in educational technology companies. When it comes to showing results, he said, “We better put up or shut up.”
In 1997, a science and technology committee assembled by President Bill Clinton issued an urgent call about the need to equip schools with technology. However, the report’s final statement read; “The panel does not, however, recommend that the deployment of technology within America’s schools be deferred pending the completion of such research.” This statement comes after the report acknowledged that there had been inadequate research to assess the effectiveness of high-tech learning.
In November voters returned to the ballot box in Kyrene to authorize more funds for the digital push. The measure lost by 96 votes.
If there are questions about the success rate of digital education in the United States, these questions should even loom larger in Thailand, which is much less advanced than the United States in IT.
The development of software, the training of teachers, the development of Internet linkage across Thailand, which is approximately the size of France,-all these are issues that have seemingly not been addressed by the new Thai government. The tablet computers are unlikely to be Thai education’s “magic bullet.”
My hunch is that two weeks after the tablet computers are issued, expect them to start appearing for sale as “used” in street markets across the land.
Top News from Southeast Asia
September 11 , 2011
These were the most newsworthy stories published by Asean Affairs during the week of September 3-September 6.
HCM tourism rises, so do problems
Although the number of foreign tourist arrivals rose by 10
percent in the first seven months of 2011, the HCM City tourism industry
has been facing challenges. Deputy Director of HCM City Department of
Culture, Sports and Tourism La Quoc Khanh and Nguyen Van My, director of
Lua Viet Travel Company spoke with Le Hung Vong and Thuy Ha about these
issues. READ MORE: