By The Nation
Wanalee Thunmak of Sukhothai and Nirawan Cheuboonmee of Loei had been assigned by the Secondary Education Service Area Office 38 (Sukhothai-Tak) to the teaching jobs in Umphang district on May 4. They qualified for the jobs because they ranked 66th and the 67th respectively on the office’s successful-candidate list, which had a two-year validity period that ended on May 10.
Wanalee taught at the school without pay for five months, from May to September, assuming that the money had been delayed by a bureaucratic process, and Nirawan quit her other job at a Loei kindergarten to join the school.
They were shocked on October 24 to discover that they could not officially be hired because the Tak Education Committee had not approved the shift in their major subjects, which made them eligible for the jobs, and had not approved the two positions for which they were hired.
Wanalee returned home to make inquiries how she could get her teaching job back. Nirawan stayed with Wanalee for eight days before going to stay with a relative in Uttaradit in hope that she would get her job back. She did not returned to her hometown of Loei, where her parents are waiting for her.
The acting director of the Secondary Education Service Area Office 38, Warin Chamnanpha, declined to comment on this case, saying that his office was formulating a report for the Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) chief Boonrak Yodphetch.
Boonrak, meanwhile, said that he had three solutions: To report the case to the Permanent Secretary’s Office at the Education Ministry to have a fact-finding committee investigate steps taken in hiring the teachers; to find guidelines to provide protection for the two innocent teachers; and to have OBEC provide initial help to the women.
On Saturday, Boonrak presented an initial Bt30,000 in assistance money to Wanalee and said he would also send money to Nirawan.
The case received public attention and drew criticism after the Facebook page of Sukhothai media Seu Thonthing Muang Pra Ruang and the “Northernnewsthailand” website published the women’s story.