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School textbook calls democracy “corrupt”, supports dictatorship

Neill Fronde



PHOTO: An old Thai textbook calls democracy corrupt and endorses dictatorship. (via Coconuts)

A story that has gone viral in Thai social media over the last few days raised ire over a grammar textbook that called democracy corrupt and endorsed dictatorship. The textbook turned out to be published originally in 2008, was last published in 2012, and was removed from approval for use in classroom learning in 2016.

The original post was shared tens of thousands of times and picked up by Thai news agencies before the impact of the outrageous text was lessened by the revelation that the book had been officially withdrawn from classroom use 5 years ago.

The offending text was an example given in a grammar lesson on writing complex sentences and the translation to English shows a strong preference for authoritarianism over democracy.

“Somchai will choose democracy where politicians are corrupt, or Somchai will choose dictatorship where the leader holds great virtue in his heart.”

A former MP with the Move Forward Party Kunthida Rungruengkiat, who now serves as an education consultant, said that any examples like this should be identified and shared and removed from Thai classrooms. She requested that people share any examples they found with her.

“Anyone who sees a textbook with content that deviates from the facts deviates from academic principles and contains content that contradicts democratic principles, please forward to me.”

While the book is no longer approved as part of the standard teaching curriculum, it still is available for sale from the Office of Basic Education so copies of the book still could turn up in classrooms.

Critics complained that politically charged statements like this should not be appearing in a textbook for young children covering basic education. They use the outrage caused by the viral post, despite it being outdated, as a talking point to encourage an improvement in the quality of education for children in Thailand.

SOURCE: Coconuts


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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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