Small Schools Will Use Other School Facilities

The Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) vowed that there will be no small schools to be closed this academic year.

Instead, pupils will be moved between 1,000 schools to get more efficient use of facilities. The Education Ministry will gather and find more solutions to aid the small and alternative schools in Thailand.

There were 200 parents and students who were rallying under the banner of the Association for Thai Alternative Education Council and the Community School Network outside the Education Ministry. They were obviously upset at the news of some directors of schools with less than 60 pupils had been removed from their posts by educational zone offices. They called for a stopping of the policy of closing and merging of small schools, pending proper consultation between education authorities and the public.

The 178 of the 182 primary education zones outside Bangkok had submitted plans to Obec to develop some 3,500 schools with less than 60 pupils. These would be condensed into a master plan for small school development to be proposed to the ministry today. No small schools would be closed down, apart from schools that had no fresh intake of students in three primary education zones. The closed schools’ facilities would be used to create nurseries or non-formal education centers instead. The other schools will be divided into two groups: 2,200 small schools, including 300 located in “special and necessary” areas such as islands, would undergo intensive learning-teaching development, while the other 1,000 would rotate students between their schools.

A resident from Roi Et’s Pathumrat district was worried that Ban Som Hong School, which had 49 students and three teachers, where her youngest child attends kindergarten, would be closed because the school director was removed. If schools in the mountains were closed villagers wouldn’t send their kids to city the schools because they couldn’t afford the transportation expenses. So the kids would suffer a lack of access to education, which would lead to problems such as drugs and human trafficking. The education assessment should be flexible and should include cultural and vocational skills from the community’s participation in education management.

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