Broken Smart Devices for Schoolkids Cost Billions to Repair

  • By Choi Eun-kyung

    November 23, 2023 08:53

    Ten of thousands of tablets and other smart devices distributed to schools by regional education offices in the capital area had broken. The cost of repairs has reached W1.15 billion (US$1=W1,301).
    Concerns have been raised as the government continues to distribute smart devices to all students that repair and maintenance costs could escalate rapidly.
    According to the regional education offices in Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi Province, the total number of malfunctioning smart devices since 2021 was 12,076.
    The repair costs were shared with parents. In Seoul, for example, there were 2,990 reports of malfunctions in the past two years, with repair costs amounting to W643 million covered by the education office and W92.22 million by parents. The three education offices spent a total of W1.16 billion on repairs over the period.
    Schoolkids also lost their devices. In Seoul, there were 117 reports of tablet PCs being lost in the past two years but only 16 were ever found. In Seoul and Incheon parents had to pay up fully if their kids lost their devices, but in Gyeonggi Province parents were liable for only 40 percent of the cost.
    Some students also sold their devices on online secondhand marketplaces. Education offices try to prevent this by monitoring goods that are being sold there, but it keeps happening.
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