Thursday, March 1, 2007

Thai Junta Undermining Democratic Development: Strips Thai Children of their Right to a Free Education

No promise of free basic education in charter : Education Ministry

The Education Ministry wants the new charter to avoid promising 12 years of "free" basic education in order to stop schools from charging extra fees that often end up costing parents more than the waived tuition.

Education Minister Wijit Srisaan said yesterday that the Education Council had sent him its recommendations for the new constitution, which he would revise before submitting them to the National Legislative Assembly.

Most of the contents were based on the previous charter but adjusted to be briefer and more realistic.

The Education Ministry would propose that Article 43 of the old charter - stipulating that the government shall provide people an equal right to obtain 12 years of basic education with quality and at no charge - be rephrased.

It should say something like the government shall allocate fair and sufficient resources to enable the arrangement of 12 years of basic education with quality and equity, he said.

The old wording contained a loophole that let schools extract money from parents for "extracurricular activities", which often turned out to be ambiguous and even more expensive.

The new version would force the government to find ways to support schools with sufficient resources so they could provide quality education, which should lessen the problem of schools charging parents miscellaneous fees.

Wijit said the ministry had a longstanding regulation that schools could not charge for tuition. Fundraising from parents was acceptable as long as it was voluntary and the proceeds did not pay for regular expenses because it was the government's responsibility to support schools financially.

Even if the new constitution cut the phrase "free of charge" out, schools would still be prohibited by the ministerial regulation from charging tuition fees, he added.

The Nation

What an absolute digrace! I have never worked for the Thai education deparment, but I know many people who have. It is hopelessly corrupt. It is horribly managed by greedy and incompetent bureaucrats, who care more about status, face and their extracurricular fees more than anything else.

During the Thaksin years, how many education ministers were chewed up and spat out by the education bureaucracy? I can't even remember.

I love the Thai solution to this problem. Instead of enforcing the right to a free education, the junta is just going to strip the right away, because that is more convenient.

Why not go after all the bureaucrats who refuse to enforce the law? Why not go after the administrators who are mismanaging their funds? Why not go after those headmasters who are extorting money from the parents?

Why is the Thai media letting these crooks off the hook year after year?

It seems that the intent of the elite in Thai society is to keep the masses poor and disempowered. And when the masses fight for their rights, the elites subdue them with violence and fill their heads with nationalism and royalist propaganda to keep them in line.

No comments: