AMID a reduction in the amount of time Thai teachers spent on non-teaching activities last year. They hoped the number of days spent on non-teaching activities would come down to 35-40 days this year.
The announcement of progress in reduction of teachers’ non-teaching activities was made by Quality Learning Foundation (QLF) yesterday, ahead of the National Teachers’ Day, which falls on January 16. QLF said 2015 had seen a successful decrease of 25 per cent in non-teaching activity time compared to 2014. This enables teachers to concentrate more on teaching pupils.
Former National Reform Council member and QLF executive Amornwit Nakornthap revealed that by encouraging reduction of education assessment, amending the academic standing system and cutting unnecessary competitions and training, teachers would gain more time to prepare their materials and look after students.
“When we first investigated how 319 Thai |teachers spent their time in 2014, we found that, out of 200 teaching days in a year, they spent |84 days in activities that didn’t impart education |to the students. This was the problem that made teachers unable to properly teach pupils and |thus affected the students’ learning,” Amornwit said.
“In the end, teachers could get up to 50 per cent of time or 35-40 days back to spend on teaching pupils this year,” he said.
However, as many measures such as reducing insignificant assessments, competition, training and meeting have been implemented, he disclosed that last year teachers had gain 19 more days from these non-teaching activities.
QLF Education Finance policy specialist Kraiyos Patrawart revealed that Thailand’s progress last year was better than that of OECD member countries, where teachers on average spent about 6.5 hours per week out of 182 days in an academic year, or 34 per cent of term time, on non-teaching activities.
“We expect that this year this number will further go down, because the Office for National Education Standards and Quality Assessment has agreed to amend the education assessment starting from this year. They have also linked teachers’ promotion to students’ academic success,” Amornwit said.
“I hope that teachers will make good use of this additional time,” he added.
On the occasion of Teacher’s Day, Education Minister General Dapong Rattanasuwan promised the ministry would give a present to Thai teachers by reforming education assessment, reducing teacher workload, and returning teachers to their duties in the classroom.
Despite this good news, Arkom Sompama, a Good Teaching award winner from Ratchaburi, said teachers would like decision makers to have a clear and continuous policy on education to further improve the standard of education.
“I appreciate that we can reduce other unnecessary activities to give us more time to prepare for the class. However, teachers still have to comply with changeable and sometimes controversial policies from the government, so we have to work hard to implement these policies, which gives us less time for teaching,” Arkom said.
He cited as example the recent studying-time reduction policy, which meant that teachers had to plan after-school activities for students and this made them too busy to be able to concentrate on teaching.
A similar suggestion was made by Sompong Jitradab, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Education and a member of the QLF committee.
He said education policy should be generated from bottom up because many top-down policies usually confuse the teachers and are often changeable.
Source: The Nation