By THE NATION
“Parents should be educated about the significance of their role and how to play it,” Thailand Development Research Institute president Dr Somkiat Tangkitvanich said. “Parents, after all, can bolster children’s learning by as much as 40 per cent.”
He was speaking at the TEP’s two-day forum last weekend, which addressed how to improve Thailand’s educational sector.
Many prominent figures attended the forum, including former prime minister Anand Panyarachun.
Anand said everyone had a role to play in the country’s education and all parties must stop thinking that the government was solely responsible for education issues.
“Parents should recognise that they are the first persons to take care of their children’s education,” he said.
Anand, the son of a school executive, added that the civil sector and the private sector must also contribute to the improvement of Thailand’s educational quality.
“Only after all parties involved recognise and do their duty, can positive changes happen. Without a change in mindset, no blueprint can alter Thai education for the better,” he said.
He added that while educators should be eager to learn, “parents, meanwhile, should provide support and create learning opportunities for their children”.
Anand said parents should encourage their children to learn based on their potential and interests.
“Schools should ensure they are inspiring places for children,” he said. “Teachers should help children identify their potential and boost it.”
Communities and the society should also help provide safe after-school learning spaces.
Somkiat said children should have at least six qualities: morality, self-knowledge, a sense of belonging, embrace teamwork, citizen participation and be savvy with technology.
“A learning environment should prepare children well for the challenging world and upcoming change,” he said.
Somkiat said children should learn to socialise and constantly improve themselves. They must be keen to learn new things and have the courage to handle reality.
“Train children to think and be practical. Give them the necessary skills such as discipline and the ability to work with others,” Somkiat said.
He said to provide children with such skills, relevant parties should encourage children’s curiosity, train them to ask the right questions and teach them how to find answers.
He said the TEP had recently surveyed 1,142 people in 15 provinces regarding what qualities children of the new generation should have.
Ninety-one per cent of those asked said that children should be IT-adept. About 87 per cent said that children should have good learning abilities and 86 per cent said children must know themselves and should be able to work with others. About 84 per cent said children should be good citizens and 82 per cent expected them to uphold good values.
TEP has proposed that all relevant parties should organise activities for children so they can identify their aptitude and interests.
“Also, we believe school directors and school executives should receive leadership development support,” Somkiat said.
He added that the TEP would work with the Office of Higher Education Commission to improve teachers.
“We will also identify prime movers and engage them in education-development efforts,” he said.
He said that the TEP also hoped to encourage the government to give greater independence to schools.
“We will also try to help upgrade schools and their networks.”