Tablet PC soon to replace school books

MANILA, Philippines - The first locally developed tablet personal computer (PC) may be out this year as the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) zeroes in on its development, DoST Secretary Mario Montejo said.

In announcing the department's priorities for 2011, Montejo expressed hopes that the first Filipino PC tablet will come out this year.

"We hope to modernize the education system through the use of a low-cost PC tablet and connect all schools to the Internet," Montejo said.

He said they have invested in the development of the cheap electronic gadget to save students from buying printed school books whose spiraling prices often have to do with the high printing cost.

The "Tablet PC," which is the size of a computer notebook, is intended to eventually replace printed books in schools.

"Nagde-develop kami ng (We are developing a) tablet PC to load it with book contents para hindi ka na kailangan magdala ng books (so that students would no longer have to bring books to schools)," the DoST chief said.

He said the Tablet PC, which would merely cost some P3,000, would be reloadable as it would be using memory cards to store the book contents.

"If in the following semester, another sets of books are needed, all you have to do is to change the memo card. So the worth of the PC tablet, which is P3,000 could, be used for the entire college course as it would not just store a single book," Montejo said.

He said they are presently in coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd) on the project, and doing it in partnership with the University of Sto. Tomas.

While it would cheapen the cost of books minus ink and paper, Montejo said they expect the project to have a negative impact on printing businesses when the project is completed.

Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), one of the agencies under the DoST, is the one working on the project which has been earmarked a budget of less than P5 million, the DoST secretary said.

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