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Deans oppose plans to open up teaching

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University and college deans are against the Education Ministry’s proposal to allow experts from certain professions to teach without a licence. 

The ministry’s proposal could result in a drop in professional standards and is unfair to students and teachers, they claimed.

The deans said the Teachers’ Council of Thailand (TCT) has previously come up with a way to let non-education graduates enter the teaching profession to ease skill shortages.

Under that system, non-education graduates can receive a temporary licence to teach for two years.

During this time, they are required to study an education-related course if they want to receive a permanent licence.

Earlier, permanent secretary for education Suthasri Wongsamarn said he would ask the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to let experts from specific professions teach in vocational colleges without a teaching licence, to help solve staff shortages.

Non-education graduates could get a licence automatically after two years.

More than 100 representatives from the Thailand Education Deans Council, the Consortium of Sixteen Education Deans of Thailand (Group 16), Rajabhat Education Deans Council, and Vocational Education Deans Council attended a meeting held at Srinakharinwirot University yesterday in which they discussed the proposal.

“It is not a matter of being narrow-minded in blocking non-education graduates from entering our profession.

"We are calling on the NCPO to hold back the proposal and consult us before amending the law," Montree Yamkasikorn, president of the Thailand Education Deans Council, said.

TCT’s board president Paitoon Sinlarat also opposed the plan to automatically provide a teaching licence under the scheme after two years.

“The TCT has no problem with outsiders entering the profession, but we must also maintain quality,” he said.

Surawat Thongbu, dean of Rajabhat Maha Sarakham University's Faculty of Education, insisted the teaching profession should be a "closed system".

“Why would we have to allow outsiders to enter so easily when normally we require students to study for five years, teach for one year and take an exam for the licence,” he said.

He also questioned whether a shortage of teachers really exists.

Each year hundreds of thousands sit the teacher examinations and more than 300,000 students are studying to be teachers nationwide.

“The feelings of those 300,000 education students and 700,000 teachers nationwide also should be taken into account," he said.

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