Thai Education Reform: Role of provinces and local administrations in seeking out-of-school children to enroll in education system and awarding good teachers
Under the Royal Thai Government’s initiative, the Quality Learning Foundation (QLF) in partnership with Prime Minister’s Office, UNICEF, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, the Ministry of Interior, Department of Local Administration, Thai Health Promotion Foundation, the Office for National Education Standards and Quality Assessment (ONESQA) and the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board organized a kick- start meeting “Thai Education Reform: Role of provinces and local administrations in seeking out-of-school children to enroll in the education system (formal/non-formal/informal)” between 29-30 April 2011 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center which called for participation of the local leaders in all 77 provinces. All provinces across the country are involved in the good teachers project and 48 provinces have volunteered to take part in the province-based pilot projects this year.
The objective was to promote public awareness about the problem of inadequate access to education and call for public participationparticularly at a local level to take further action. It also aimed to develop provincial and local educational leadership through the establishment of both provincial level (77 provincial committees) and local level (10,000 communities across country). Both levels will be the main mechanisms in setting up measures, aligning priorities and processes, designed to make access to education more equitable and to achieve better outcomes for vulnerable young people.
More than 600 participants attended the meeting. The participants included high-level government officials, Ministry of Education representatives, educational area-directors, provincial governors and local administrators and representatives of NGOs from across the country.
This initiative will be a long term mission in promoting good teaching and targeting all categories of disadvantaged children (5-18 year-olds) with the two key goals of ensuring that a much higher proportion of children remain in school, especially disadvantaged groups and that they also leave school with qualifications beyond those appropriate to primary school leavers.
Seven categories will be given high priority in 2011; these are the poorest groups, both those who have already dropped out and those who are at risk of dropping out (3,000,000). Other groups who are educationally disadvantaged include pregnant teens (100,000), non-citizens (200,000 – 300,000), children who are in the three southernmost provinces (40,000), about 10,000 who are at risk from dropping out before they graduate grade 9; disabled children (100,000) and, finally, children and youth who are accused of crime (60,000). Fixing this problem will require systematic education reform aimed at making each student feel valued, competent and empowered. Policymakers and educators must take a hard look and work effectively on helping vulnerable and disadvantaged children (narrowing the gap) including dropout prevention and also work together to create pathways back into education for many young people who drop out of school too soon.
Key Measures include;
(1) to enable effective public policies and unlock hindering policies;
(2) to encourage, catalyse and provide financial support to projects that aim for reform goals;
(3) to mobilize public participation to tackle and support disadvantaged children issue;
(4) to launch communication campaigns on disadvantaged children’s issues to promote public awareness