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Land offices most corrupt, police second: academic survey

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Land offices most corrupt, police second: academic survey
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The Land office is the most corrupt agency in the Thai bureaucracy, while police are ranked second in this dubious list where households needed to make illegal payments to facilitate their service, according to an academic survey.

The survey titled “Corruption in the Thai Bureaucracy in 2014: A Survey of Attitudes and Experiences of Heads of Households” by Chulalongkorn University’s Pasuk Phongpaichit found that 7.2 per cent of 6,048 heads of Thai households said they were asked for a bribe by officials at land offices whenever contacted for a service, while 6.1 per cent said police personnel asked for money from them.

Land offices, which come under the Department of Lands, are the key agency for all transactions and documentation involving sale or purchase of land. The office is authorised to charge a fee but officials demand extra money to speed up work or legalise some grey documents, the survey revealed.

The Departments of Customs and Land Transport also took bribes, but only 2.4 and 1.9 per cent respectively of households in the survey said they needed to offer bribes to officials for their services, Pasuk said.

However, on a relatively positive note, she said the percentage of respondents who said they had to pay tea money to officials at the land offices, police, Customs and Transport departments had decreased from 12.3 per cent, 8.5 per cent, 10.3 per cent and 7.7 per cent respectively, in the previous survey in 1999.

The survey also revealed that the land office was the only bribe-taking agency in the bureaucracy that demanded more than Bt100,000 per head on average, Pasuk said. The police as well as the departments of Customs and Revenue also charge big amounts but the bribes average between Bt10,000 and Bt100,000, she said.

Public schools and local administrative organisations have also been pointed to as taking bribes from households, she said.

Officials at public schools seek bribes averaging Bt11,796 each time they are contacted for service, the Department of Customs demands an average of Bt10,538, the land-office bribes average Bt5,341, and police take Bt4,919 on average from each household, she said. Local administrations demanded only Bt1,000 on average, she said.

The survey estimated that total bribes taken by the land offices this year amounted to Bt1.9 billion, the police Bt1.7 billion and public schools Bt640 million, she said. Overall, Thai households paid bribes of Bt4.9 billion to 10 government agencies, according to the survey this year. However, she noted the amount was three times less than the last survey in 1999.

“Thai households in the survey gave importance to the problem of corruption but did not consider it more important than their own economic and income difficulties.

“Corruption is a chronic problem in the country and Thai households are less trustful of the media, the judiciary and the bureaucracy on this issue.

“Most of the survey respondents said they wanted to see tough punishment for corrupt officials and wanted the government to give priority to anti-corruption measures more than other issues,” she said.

Department of Lands deputy director-general Wanit Intarak said the department was aware of the bad reputation of the land offices because of the bribery. It is difficult for the department to control as many as 800 offices and units under its jurisdiction, he said. “But we have inspected and boosted ethics and morality among officials to prevent corruption. We also use information technology in the management system to limit the opportunity for officials to take bribes.”

Pol Colonel Mongkol Ketphan of the national police office said the Royal Thai Police had opened channels for people to lodge complaints on the work of the police to eliminate corruption from police stations.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Thailand

Education Ministry launches online platform as schools’ reopening plans delayed

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Thailand’s Education Ministry is launching an online platform for public school students who are, once again, being forced to learn at home due to restrictions and limitations imposed by the government.

The third wave of the virus has prompted authorities to postpone the reopening of government schools from May 17 (yesterday) to June 1. However, as daily infections keep rising, that date may be amended again.

As the future of the pandemic is unclear, the Ministry has launched www.ครูพร้อม.com, an online platform titled Kru Prom or Teachers Ready in English. The portal features content under 6 categories featuring the word “Wanna” in reference to the more grammatically correct English words of “Want to.” The Wanna Know page, is dedicated to educators as it features e-books to help them boost their skills.

Wanna Learn, Wanna Know, Wanna Teach, Wanna Do, Wanna Watch, and Wanna Share are the categories that students can choose from. Each category has a wide range of choices for students that includes different types of media for each lesson.

Students or teachers are not required to use the new Kru Prom platform, as the Education Ministry says it is just an alternative for those who are interested in learning more. Likewise, teachers are not being told they must compile reports over the platform and it won’t be included in their performance evaluations.

The Ministry has also noted that the platform can be used, even while physically attending school, as a supplement to students’ learning.

Prominent education academic, Athapol Anunthavorasakul, is not impressed with the idea as he says children are exhausted from online/offline classes. He says children should be allowed to play during the break, even if it is extended. He says the most schools should require over the break, is for the students to share what they had learned.

But the Ministry already has released plans that include online learning – once schools are allowed to reopen. The classes will be conducted using onsite, on air, on demand, online, on hand, and hybrid formats. The Ministry is also offering free internet packages to students to help them make the move to online learning. Meanwhile, the Education Minister says the website’s recent launch has proved popular on the first day, gaining thousands of hits.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Thailand

Thai students to get free unlimited internet to help with online learning

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Thai government school students are set to get free unlimited internet to help students move their studies online after the third wave of Covid-19 has forced schools’ reopening date to be postponed to June 1 from May 17. Digital Economy and Society Minister, Chaiwut Thanakhamanusorn, in along with the Education Ministry, said the internet packages will be powered by Thailand’s major mobile and internet operators including AIS, True, Dtac and the Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission. He says the ministry will also provide as many schools as possible with fibre-optic high-speed broadband to help broadcast lectures and seminars.

Chaiwut says on-site teaching will continue under strict provisions, if possible, along with on-air education via TV broadcasts and an increase in the availability of on-demand learning materials and books. The Ministry has launched www.ครูพร้อม.com, an online platform titled Kru Prom or Teachers Ready in English. The portal features content under 6 categories featuring the word “Wanna” in reference to the more grammatically correct English words of “Want to.” The Wanna Know page, is dedicated to educators as it features e-books to help them boost their skills.

Students and teachers are not required to use the new Kru Prom platform, as the Education Ministry says it is just an alternative for those who are interested in learning more. Likewise, teachers are not being told they must compile reports over the platform and it won’t be included in their performance evaluations. The Ministry has also noted that the platform can be used, even while physically attending school, as a supplement to students’ learning.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Treenuch Thienthong said admission exams for Mathayom 1 and 4 students will be held on May 22-23. Students, teachers and parents, who participate in the exams, will have to follow sanitation instructions at each testing venue, with all tests being given between a strict window of 9am to 12pm daily.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Thailand

Koh Samet reopens after being closed for 3 weeks due to Covid-19

Tanutam Thawan

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Stock photo via Wikmedia Commons

Koh Samet off the coast of Rayong has reopened to visitors after being closed for 3 weeks. The Gulf of Thailand island is safe to visit and disease control measures are being enforced, according to the Koh Samet tourism association chairperson told the Bangkok Post.

On April 27, the Rayong governor ordered for Koh Samet to be closed to visitors after 5 people on the island tested positive for Covid-19. The closure was initally set for 14 days. No recent Covid-19 infections have been reported on the island, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Rayong office.

On the mainland, Rayong health officials reported 10 more Covid-19 infections yesterday. Since April 1, the province has reported a total of 831 infections and 7 coronavirus-related deaths.

Authorities on the island are enforcing the standard “DMHTTA” disease control measures which stand for distancing, mask wearing, handwashing, temperature checking, testing for Covid-19 and checking in using the mobile application Mor Chana.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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