Schools in crisis as new year begins

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Schools in crisis as new year beginsserious shortage of teachers around the country; class hours to be cut.

SOME schools in Krabi province have no teacher at all due to technical problems related to the Education Ministry’s recent structural overhaul. The problem persists just as the new academic year for state schools across the country kicks off today.

“There’s not a single teacher at some schools here,” Narin Saro said late last week as the acting education chief of Krabi, which needed 90 more teachers for its 219 schools.

He attributed the problem to the suspension of teacher-transfer tasks in the province, which have arisen because the Regional Steering Education Committee – chaired by Education Minister General Dapong Ratanasuwan – had not yet set up Krabi’s provincial education subcommittees for disciplinary affairs, academic ranks, and recruitment or transfer of teachers.

“I’ve heard that Nakhon Si Thammarat province has also had a similar problem,” Narin said.

An informed source said the Nakhon Si Thammarat provincial education committee had refused to approve any transfers or allocations of teachers because relevant subcommittees had not yet been established.

The Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Primary Educational Service Area II has reported the shortage of 93 teachers. The area has more than 250 schools.

Education Ministry permanent-secretary Dr Kamjorn Tatiyakavee sought to downplay the issue yesterday.

“It’s no big deal. Even if there are no subcommittees in place, it is also possible to approve the teacher transfer or allocation through other means,” he said.

He pointed out teacher shortage was a familiar problem.

Kamjorn said authorities would be able to tackle the problem in a matter of days, after the new academic year begins.

“We will convene meetings and discuss how to allocate teachers to solve or ease the shortage,” he explained. Government Spokesman Maj General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha had instructed all schools to make sure they were well ready for the start of the new semester.

“It’s necessary that schools examine their facilities and ensure that they are well safe to ensure the safety of students,” Sansern said.

He added that Prayut also urged schools to help tackle four key threats – online football gambling; the spread of communicable diseases such as dengue fever, road accidents, and student brawling.

According to the government spokesman, Prayut also ordered the Education Ministry to go ahead with its policy to cut class hours so as to give students more time to pursue physical, mental, and emotional development outside classrooms through a variety of activities |such as educational trips or recreation.

Sansern said Prayut placed an emphasis on the need to promote the Head (analytical thinking) and Heart (moral soundness) elements at schools.

Because parents usually face a bigger financial burden around the start of the new semester, |state-owned pawnshops have offered to extend the repayment deadline from about five months to six months. “This promotion applies for assets being pawned between May and July,” Sansern said.

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