Denied education despite paid fees, Thai teen ignites debate on school system reform

PHOTO via Facebook: Thanalop Phalanchai (Yok)

In a determined effort to continue her education, 15 year old Yok Thanalop made her fourth visit to Triam Udom Suksa Pattanakarn School. Despite paying the term fees and having the support of the Committee for the Rights of the Child, the school refused to accept her as a student, sparking intense debates on both sides.

At 7am today, Yok travelled to Triam Udom Suksa Pattanakarn School with her friend, Bung Natthiphon, a social activist from the Thaluwang group, to insist on her right to schooling. Before entering the school, Yok stated that she has already paid fees, confirmed by the Commission for the Rights of the Child, and studied for a month before being denied student status. Yok has faced threats, online harassment and the disclosure of her parents’ personal information. She further clarified her motive, saying schools in the country are not normal and society needs change.

Yok believes that she is not the first to challenge the system; previously, Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal made an attempt ten years ago, followed by several others. She plans to study at this school because she was accepted here and has already consulted with adults to help coordinate with the school. Yok added that before the Kao Klai Party released their statement, she has already tried to raise her concerns through various means, including climbing the school fence three times.

Bung Natthiphon commented that representatives from the Move Forward Party, including Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn and Bencha Saengchantra, will observe and discuss the situation with the school to find a solution for Yok. Additionally, reporters noted that police officers and a women’s crowd control unit were present at the school to maintain peace and order.

Related news

To comprehend Yok Thanalop’s recent situation, Yok is the second youngest person ever accused of committing lese majeste in Thailand, allegedly violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code. She was released on bail after a 51-day stay inside a detention centre in Nakhon Pathom province. Read full story HERE.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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