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Online learning system to support re-opening of schools

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: iglu.net

Thailand’s Ministry of Education is launching an online learning system designed as a back-up in the event that the re-opening of schools is deemed unsafe. With Thaialnd’s schools set to reopen their doors from July 1, a televised and online system is being tested to supplement children’s learning.

The new system, set to be tested next Monday, May 18, will enable students to access learning materials and classes through 17 television channels, with additional skills classes planned for school breaks. The Ministry of Education says it is consulting with parents, teachers and students for their input in designing the right materials and an appropriate timetable, with plans to reduce the number of assignments during break periods.

Following an extended period of closure as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, schools across Thailand are set to re-open from July 1, with the first semester running until November 13. Following a break from November 14 to November 30, the second semester will begin on December 1 and run until April 9, 2021, followed by a break until May 16, 2021. The newly crammed schedule is to make up for lost time for schools and student over the past 2 months.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail

 

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Thailand

Education program ends September, 1,964 teachers face layoffs

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Laying off 1,964 teachers in September may cause an education shortage.

Nearly 2,000 maths and science teachers are calling upon the Education Ministry to help them avoid layoffs in September. The teachers were hired in 2018 under a special project by the Office of the Basic Education Commission to improve maths and science teaching standards in Thailand. Now 1,964 teachers may face unemployment if action is not taken.

The OBEC had planned to cut funding to this project, essentially rendering the positions redundant and leaving a few thousand teachers unemployed. After recently being briefed on the plan, these nearly 2,000 teachers filed a petition with the Education Minister today asking for action to avoid the coming layoffs. The president of the People’s Sector Network Against Corruption rallied on their behalf, joining the teacher group’s representatives in filing the petition.

The president of the PSNAC and the group of teachers argued that the layoffs resulting from defunding the program would be detrimental to the quality of education students will receive in Thailand. They also mentioned that many schools would experience a lack of available and qualified teachers.

Facing layoffs of the 1,964 teachers at stake and only a few months to reach a resolution, the teacher group submitted the petition along with several proposals to try to resolve the issue. They requested that the OBEC put off the plan to hire new maths and science teachers until after Thailand recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The teachers also asked the OBEC to simply reconsider and withdraw the planned layoffs for the teachers in light of the current economic crisis caused by the Coronavirus. Finally, they proposed an extension of the current education program so instead of an end date this September, it would be continued until September 2023.

Education Minister Treenuch Thienthong was reported to have received the petition against the teachers’ layoffs and pledged to request that the OBEC revisits and revises its decision.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Thailand

Thailand’s government schools may see another delay in reopening

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Stock photo via Flickr

Thailand’s government schools may see another delay in reopening if Covid-19 infections continue to surge. The Office of the Basic Education Commission says the date could be pushed back to June 1 for the new school term. As of now, the reopening is tentatively set for May 17.

The reopening date was set before Thailand’s 3rd outbreak swept the nation, seeing more than 2,000 new Covid infections on a daily basis. Now, the Ministry of Education is closely monitoring the situation to determine whether to push the date back for reopening. Just recently, the Ministry held a meeting to discuss the reopening date, along with updates on containment measures such as partial lockdowns and bans on some domestic travelling.

Schools that feature large class sizes and training establishments have been suspended until further notice, with the Ministry taking note. As it is well-known that many Thai government schools feature large class sizes, the idea of these classes potentially spreading the virus is of concern. If the reopening of the new school term is delayed to June 1, admissions to Prathom 1 (Grade 1) and the entrance exams of Mathayom 1 (Grade 7) and Mathayom 4 (Grade 10) would be deferred as well.

Last week, the drawing of lots for the admission of Prathom 1 students had been rescheduled for May 2 with the registration of new students set for May 4. For Mathayom 1 students, applications will be accepted between April 24-28 and the admission exams will be held on May 6 with exam results to be announced on May 8.

For Mathayom 4, applications are also to be submitted between April 24-28, with the admission exam being set for May 9 with results announced on May 12. Schools for the disabled have set application submissions for April 24-30 and enrollment for May 15.

With news of some provinces going into partial lockdowns, the delay in reopening would take into consideration the inability for many families to travel to other provinces for entrance exams.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Education

Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation”

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Student protests led to one student not graduating due to being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”

After participating in protests for student’s rights, a Phuket student was barred from graduating 9th grade, moving from middle school to high school, charged with being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”. The student had advocated against mandatory uniforms and for student’s liberties. He told reporters that the school started paying attention to his actions last year when he participated in rallies in solidarity with students across Thailand. The school’s student affairs office received a copy of posts he made on social media encouraging others to join the cause. The school ordered a stop to his political actions, but he and his friends disregarded warnings and violated school rules when they handed out white ribbons to classmates. They received a warning from the student affairs office.

Student protests have increased after pro-democracy demonstrations surged in July last year, empowering many Thai people to speak out against injustices, including students’ rights and liberties. People from schools across the nation have been banding together in solidarity to bring their issues to public light.

On graduation day, all the students were promoted into high school, except for the one student protestor, says the Bad Student protest group. The theme of the day focused on dedication to the monarchy, country and religion, and specifically how students should be obedient. The student said he has received support from friends, but his parents remain neutral and his teachers have been completely silent on the matter. He is frustrated that he was punished for his right to express himself. He plans on testing with incoming students to re-enrol in the same school, and if he is not accepted because of the disloyalty charge, he will pursue legal ramifications, suing the school for blocking his right to an education over the student’s protests.

The student believes he needs to speak out to prevent school administrators from imposing on more students’ rights. He advocates for diversity in schools and ending prejudices, with increased liberties and freedoms for students.

“Schools must teach children to be able to think by themselves, not force children to think like them. Schools should create opportunities for students to express their ideas more freely.”

SOURCE: Prachatai

 

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