Thai schools set to limit classrooms to a maximum of 40 students
THE POLICY to have schools limit classroom sizes to 40 students is flexible, and more classrooms could be opened up to ensure children get taught, Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) chief Boonrak Yodphetch said yesterday, as he sought to soothe worries expressed by both parents and administrators.
The new policy has been praised by academics and teachers as a boost to learning quality. But Boonrak acknowledged that school administrators might face some issues in implementing it, especially at the in-demand “famous” schools, which are 10 per cent of all schools under Obec. Boonrak urged all sides to contribute to the discussion and to recommend solutions. He was addressing a crowd of school directors from 300 primary and secondary schools at a Bangkok seminar about student recruitment for the 2018 academic year.
Boonrak conceded that the policy worried school executives and parents, especially those whose Mathayom 3 children (from larger-size classes) would head to the 40-per-class Mathayom 4. Mayathom 4 is the level where students will either continue at their old schools via quotas or compete with others to get into new schools via exams.
Some administrators and parents are wondering what would happen to additional eligible students once the per-class limit had been reached. Citing a recent discussion with Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin, he said the minister had instructed that implementation of the policy was to be flexible. He said he had personally prepared some measures such as allowing schools to open additional classrooms. Boonrak said he would gather possible solutions from the seminar for Teerakiat’s consideration and table them at a special meeting of the Obec board.
He advised against schools using the student recruiting period as an opportunity to raise funds for operations and development projects. Boonrak also urged schools to be fair by calling in student applicants from the waiting list who had passed the entrance exams, in the event that successful candidates had given up their seats.