Thai government splurges 2.95 billion on free school lunches

Photo courtesy of Thai PBS World

The Cabinet has given the nod to a 2.95 billion baht free school lunch programme for nearly half a million students nationwide for the upcoming 2025 academic year.

Karom Pholpornklang, the deputy government spokesperson, revealed the comprehensive scope of the initiative, stating that it will extend its benevolent reach across 7,344 schools throughout the country. This plan encompasses 6,855 schools under the watchful eye of the Office of the Basic Education Commission, 376 schools under the Local Administration Department, 109 institutions managed by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, and four schools overseen by the Border Patrol Police, reported Thai PBS World.

“With an awe-inspiring annual budget of 2.95 billion, each student will be provided with a sumptuous daily meal, with an average expenditure of 24 baht per head for the duration of the 200-day academic year.”

In related news, a seemingly routine social science exam paper ignited a firestorm of controversy across Thailand, leaving citizens and educators alike questioning the boundaries of academic freedom. The exam, which tasks students with discussing contentious issues ranging from Thai society and the monarchy to the commercialisation of Buddhism, thrust Wat That Thong High School into the spotlight.

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Songchai Nianhom, head of Por-Por-Sor, raised concerns over national security, demanding to know what students were being taught and how their responses would be handled. Meanwhile, teacher Kaokorn Suksangamkul defended the exam, championing the importance of fostering academic debate and critical thinking among students.

In other news, a charitable gesture that went awry ended on a happy note for students at a school in Nan Province, Thailand. An anonymous benefactor had promised to donate educational resources and treat the students to fried chicken. However, the person didn’t show up, leaving the children and their teachers waiting in vain, a situation that quickly went viral online.

The students of Ban Pa Had School in Pua district had prepared a performance to show their appreciation for the promised donation in a charitable gesture. But they were left disappointed when the benefactor failed to turn up. The incident subsequently gained attention online.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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