Concerned Thai teacher visits absent student’s home and is shocked by living conditions

A concerned Thai teacher says she is shocked by her absent student’s living conditions after visiting him at home. The Mukdahan Province teacher, named Namwan, went to the student’s house since he didn’t show up for school since the new year began.

According to Thai Residents, he normally skips school but his long absence concerned the teacher.

Worrying that he was not safe, the teacher and her coworker went to his home and found the student sleeping on a pole. She says she started crying when the student opened his eyes.

She says the boy lives in a shed with his parents and two siblings. Namwan says the shed was in a horrible condition as there was no door and the roof was about to fall. The teacher says the boy’s mother has a condition that affects her ability to communicate.

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The father and eldest brother carry dirt in the market, earning the family’s main source of income. The teachers went on to say that the mother brought the boy a small bag of papaya salad and rice while they visited.

Namwan says she feels deeply for the child as he is always well-behaved. She found out he had been missing school due to a foot injury after stepping on a nail. She says the student has since returned to school and can walk normally.

The teacher says she promises to help the child by supporting him and is working on finding a solution to help support his education to help him have a better life.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands more Thai students sought financial help, furthering the education gap between the rich and the poor.

Around 1.8 million students applied for financial aid in 2020, an increase of 17.5% from the previous year. Chaiyuth Punyasavatsut, the fund’s chief, says some families have to come up with tuition fees three to four times higher than their income to send their children to higher classes.

“It can be confirmed that Covid-19 has worsened the economic situation and educational gap. More children are slipping through the system due to high tuition fees.”

From 2015 to 2018, poverty rates grew from 7.2% to 9.8%, according to the World Bank. The number of people living in poverty increased from 4.85 million to more than 6.7 million people. Uneven education is a big challenge in Thailand, the World Bank says.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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