By KANITTHA THEPJORN
THE SUNDAY NATION
Many education experts debated the topic “Education Welfare in the Constitution” at Thammasart University yesterday and stressed that education was a basic right that everyone should have access to equally while urging people to campaign for their own right to education.
Education rights activist Thanapong Muensaen said the authorities’ understanding of education still focused on using the education system to serve their political ideology, which was to ensure state stability.
“Such education policies have contributed to the severe disparity in the education system, as we can see from the fierce competition to get a high grade, for instance, on the Ordinary National Educational Test (O-NET) without considering |sustainability in the education system,” Thanapong said.
“The disparity in the education system also bars the poor from getting a proper education to improve their life quality, because of the lack of support from the government, which in the end will widen the social class disparity.”
Labour rights activist Patchanee Khamnak argued that the education policies of the military government would not result in improvement and urged people to campaign for the education system they wanted.
“Everyone must have access to free and quality education equally. Athough the constitution ensures that people can get 12 years of free education, it still lacks a quality assurance, and education agencies always assess education in terms of numbers and statistics,” Patchanee said.
“We must forge a good and quality education |system of our own.”
Vachararutai Boontinand, a lecturer at the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies at Mahidol University, said that the right to education was an essential basic right for everyone, and international law asserted that everyone had the right to go to school for free.
“The right to education is very important, because it is the first right for people to have before they can secure other important rights such as the right to information, or political rights,” Vachararutai said.
She added that even though the constitution did not outline clear education policies, the government could promote a proper right to education through their policies.