Thailand’s one tablet per child project lacks web filtering

Thailand’s one tablet per child project has run into further controversy when it has emerged that the first batch for 400,000 primary one students lacked the promised web filtering software and photographs of the tablet being used to access pornographic websites have been making rounds on social media.

Officials have shrugged off criticism saying only that it is up to parents and teachers to take care of their five-year olds.

ICT Minister Anudith Nakornthap responded to media questions by saying that the OTPC was designed to be used with off-line content loaded into the tablet.

At school, children could only connect to school Wi-Fi with teacher’s permission.

Group Captain Anudith said that he was confident no parent would allow their children to access pornographic websites at home.

400,000 units are expected to be distributed to children by the end of August with the rest by September. Originally, the government claimed they would be distributed before the start of the school academic year in May and as it became closer to the beginning of term, the education ministry scrambled to print paper books.

Shadow ICT Minister Sirichok Sopha pointed out that when the OTPC project was being vetted, the ICT Minister answered questions from the house committee saying that the tablets would be connected to a clean Internet hosted by the Ministry of Education that would restrict access to such websites.

Sirichok also noted that the claim was that lost tablets would be located using software and the built-in GPS.

“Why is the OTPC project suddenly an off-line project, just like a piece of slate and chalk?�? he asked.

Earlier the ICT Minister pledged to provide Wi-Fi in all schools, public places and government offices, hospitals (and petrol stations) as part of the government’s smart Thailand initiative with a budget of $950 million (30 billion Baht).