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Tech Vs Tradition: Thai Education Reform Sparks Controversy – Unleashing Social Time Bomb or Education Revolution?

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Suchatvee Suwansawat, a notable member of the Democrat party, has expressed serious concerns over the Education Ministry’s intent to distribute tablet computers to students and teachers throughout the nation. The plan, spearheaded by Education Minister Pol Gen Permpoon Chidchob and his deputy Surasak Phancharoenworakul, serves as a revival of an initiative previously enacted by a Pheu Thai government ten years ago. That endeavor, however, was far from successful and was widely panned by critics.

Taking to Facebook, Suchatvee – who formerly served as the rector of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang – opined that while technology indisputably plays a crucial role in contemporary education, there remain significant concerns to be addressed.

One of his key arguments is that tablet computers might not be beneficial for young children. These devices, according to Suchatvee, could hamper their motor development and discourage social interaction.

He said emphatically, “The ministry needs to ascertain the suitable age group for these devices. If not, they could end up doing more harm than good.”

Furthermore, Suchatvee raised the issue of efficacy. He contends that having tablet computers in no way guarantees a successful learning outcome, especially if teachers and parents don’t fully comprehend the child’s learning process.

He maintains that smart devices are just tools, and it’s crucial for parents and teachers to understand how to use these tools to facilitate a conducive learning environment.

Suchatvee also emphasized the potential emotional and psychological impact on children who spend significant time on tablets or similar devices. He warns of the risk of children developing a short attention span, becoming irritable or falling into depression. These concerns, he argues, necessitate the involvement of mental health professionals who can offer advice and support policymakers’ decisions about possible impacts.

Although being an advocate for the integration of technology in learning, Suchatvee underlined the significance of recognizing and addressing the potential downsides as well. “A coin has two sides,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Kanya Nantana, a teacher in Nakhon Sawan, expressed approval of the Education Ministry’s initiative. While she acknowledges tablets as efficient learning tools, she believes they should not be taken home to preempt misuse. She also highlighted that the current devices utilized for online learning amid the Covid-19 pandemic have become outdated, mainly because the school’s limited budget only permitted the purchase of low-specification devices.

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