By CHULARAT SAENGPASSA
BIG changes to the country's educational sector are now in the pipeline, after the National Reform Council (NRC) yesterday submitted its proposals to the government.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha officially accepted the NRC proposals, which also cover national educational reform.
“If the government fully implements our proposed educational reform, the country will get efficient human resources,” NRC member Associate Professor Prapapat Niyom said.
The plan calls for the overhaul of the educational-service system, the education fiscal system (through a demand-based approach), as well as the “learning system”.
The overhaul of the educational-service system will focus on decentralisation, with the power to arrange educational services going down to provincial and local levels.
It will also prescribe the establishment of citizens’ networks in all areas so that they serve as a checks-and-balance mechanism to monitor the governance of educational-service provision at all levels.
The overhaul of the educational fiscal system will focus on direct allocation of budget to students and educational institutes. The new system will seek to provide educational security in the manner health security is now provided to Thais.
The overhaul of the learning system, meanwhile, sets its sights on encouraging everyone to learn from real-life situations to ensure |that learning is relevant to people’s lives.
Board to evaluate results
A “National Educational and Human Development Policy Board” will be established to formulate policies on the country’s human resources, to direct educational-reform efforts, and to make recommendations to relevant ministers and Parliament.
“The board will work with various organisations and evaluate the educational-reform results,” the plan suggests.
A bill to establish this board has already been prepared. The government is expected to forward it to the National Legislative Assembly soon.
According to the NRC, its proposed educational reform will also make big changes in the development of educational human resources. The recruitment process, for example, will not be based on entrance-exam results alone, as available information reveals that teaching experiences and attitudes influence teaching performance.
The NRC also believes that the practice of transferring teachers across regions should be scrapped so as to prevent lobbying and bribery for positions in good locations.
As part of the educational-reform plan, local administrative bodies will be nudged into developing small schools, each with no more than 60 students. Now, there are about 7,000 such schools in Thailand.
At a seminar held by the NRC yesterday, the speakers made it clear that the council’s committees on media/IT reform, on educational/human resource reform, and on arts, culture, ethics and religious affairs understand that their work has been overlapping.
They have, therefore, developed their reform plans by taking into account all relevant issues. For example, there have been plans to reform human resources using the media as a facilitator.
As media have a huge influence, they rank among good tools for the production of quality human resources for the country.