Connect with us


Nakhon Ratchasima tackles underprivileged kids’ issues

Legacy Phuket Gazette




– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Nakhon Ratchasima tackles underprivileged kids’ issues
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Six-year-old Yot (not his real name) was described by his scavenger mum as a problem child.

He hated going to school and was so addicted to computer games he began begging to cover the Bt10 per hour he needed to pay the Internet cafe.

However, when The Nation met Yot, he appeared to be attentive and eager to weave fabric with 40 other street children at the House of Silk in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Muang district.

This is part of the province’s “self-governing education approach” that sees local bodies providing education opportunities to underprivileged kids in order to keep them engaged in constructive activity rather than begging on the streets.

Yot lives with his mum and stepfather in a tin-roofed hut in a slum built along the railroad tracks. This is reportedly the largest slum in this northeastern province, also known as Korat.

Waratthaya “Khru Jeab” Chanrat, who has been teaching children in this community, including Yot, for nine years now, recalled a time when the public perceived Korat as an area full of child beggars. According to 2011 statistics cited by the Basic Education Commission, 60 per cent of the province’s young population, or 193,709 children, lived below the poverty line.

Korat faced the problem of youngsters falling out of the formal education system and becoming street kids, who hung out either at the slum or Suan Rak and the Clock Tower.

Khru Jeab said Korat’s education conundrum was extreme inequality. Some kids were sent to expensive schools by their families while others could not access any education at all. Many of them were even stateless and living without welfare because their poor parents had not bothered to apply for their birth certificates.

Thailand is home to five million “poor” children, or about a third of the population aged up to 18, according to the Quality Learning Foundation.

Kraiyos Patrawart, an economist for the foundation, found that each province received Bt6.5 billion for education, while households forked out Bt1.3 billion for education, and each province had 200,000 children aged 3-18.

Of that group, 54,000 were pre-schoolers and underprivileged kids both inside and outside the formal education system.

Based on such figures about underprivileged children, a study by Nicholas Burnett, a former Unesco deputy director-general, said the problem of children dropping out of school cost the country Bt330 billion a year in economic and social losses. This was equivalent to 3 per cent of GDP or half of the annual budget for education.

Regarding Korat’s “self-governing education” approach, Amornwit Nakhonthab, an ad-viser to the foundation, said the challenge was to ensure that basic education was of good quality throughout the province. This would narrow the social gap and boost local youths’ quality of life.

Reaching such desirable results required the cooperation of all agencies involved in this issue.

Khru Jeab praised this outlook, saying it was a direct response to local issues and catered to local people’s needs. As each child and each area differs, the Education Ministry’s “one-size fits all” approach to management doesn’t always tackle issues at their roots.

“We have to consider children’s needs, local area’s needs, what is useful and practical and what’s necessary for child develop-ment, not just have them study for good grades and no life skills,” she said.

If local bodies were authorised to manage education, they could solve problems better than just taking policies from the central administration as the situation in local areas could differ.

“I want children to get an education. The government budget usually focuses on children in the formal education system even though there are many off-system children,” Khru Jeab said.

“If the system is so good, why are there many children slipping out of it and why are there so many dropouts? Our local bodies have to support these off-system children but we get very little budget for that.”

Winai Wittayanukul, deputy Korat governor, said deprived children were also found in rural communities. As farm income depends on harvests, a year of inferior crops and low prices diminishes kids’ chances of attaining an education.If local bodies handled education, they would know best about

what the area needed. The province had gathered ideas about education to submit to the National Council for Peace and Order, which designs the national policy for education.

“I think other provinces would think like us because we all face the same problem [of education not being decentralised],” he added.

— Phuket Gazette Editors


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 mins ago

Nightlife businesses petition government to reopen, sell alcohol

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Koh Larn 70% vaccinated as Pattaya eyes reopening

Economy6 hours ago

BMA extends permits for street vendors to 2 years for stability

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Phuket7 hours ago

Expats in Phuket without a work permit can register for a Covid-19 vaccine

Environment7 hours ago

Tar balls wash ashore on several Phuket beaches

Thailand7 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Private vaccines, PM promises to re-open Thailand, Phuket Sandbox | June 17

Thailand8 hours ago

2 dead following truck crash

Thailand8 hours ago

Outbreaks at factories rise, operators ordered to file Covid risk assessment

Thailand8 hours ago

Prayut going to Phuket, see if it’s Sandbox ready

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

Chulabhorn Royal Academy details Sinopharm vaccine insurance

Thailand9 hours ago

Thai-English auto-translate down on Facebook due to “technical issues”

Best of9 hours ago

Top 8 Things to do in Phuket

Crime9 hours ago

Famous/infamous murder suspect out on bail wins lottery

Thailand10 hours ago

Police arrest 2 men for allegedly trying to extort 2 million baht from a man

Phuket10 hours ago

Electricty outages in Phuket today

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8