Korat kids blast school merger plan

NAKHON RATCHASIMA - Teachers and pupils at an elementary school in Nakhon Ratchasima municipality on Thursday strongly opposed the Education Ministry‘s plan to close schools with less than 60 students, saying it would have a huge impact on children and their parents.

  • Published: 9/05/2013 at 08:59 PM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

Pantip Soisuppaseth, acting principal of Nong Pai Lorm school in Muang district, said an inquiry had been held and everyone at the school expressed their opposition to the plan. 

The ministry has ordered the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) to close schools nationwide that have less than 60 students enrolled and merge them with larger ones nearby. The plan was confirmed on Wednesday by Obec secretary-general Chinnapat Bhumirat and has sparked widespread opposition so far.

The Nong Pai Lorm school has six teachers, 52 pupils and two employees. It has been operating for about 50 years.

\Mrs Pantip said about 90% of the pupils at her school came from poor families whose parents try to make ends meet on a daily basis or have divorced.   

She said even for her it was alarming that there are still many poor pupils in such an urban area of the province.

“Some pupils come to school without a single baht but we take care of all of them. Everything is free here. We never charge them, not even a single baht. We organise special tutoring. All pupils receive a 500 baht scholarship,” Mrs Pantip said.

She warned the closure of the school would undermine opportunities for the children and cause a major grievance to their parents. All pupils live within walking distance of the school which means they have no travel expenses. The nearest elementary was about a kilometre away. Certain schools in the area charged parents 2,000 baht per pupil before they were enrolled.

The school receives funding from Nakhon Ratchasima Educational Service Area Office and Nong Pai Lorm community, 

Peeranand Pimpa, a second grader, said it took her only 10 minutes to walk to school and it would not be convenient if she had to go to another school. 

“I won’t go to school [if my school is closed] because studying here I get to live with grandma and the teachers are so kind,” she said. 

Nawakarn Sakoot, an eighth grader, said he did not want to move to another school because his present one was close to his home and there was free distribution of uniforms and stationary for pupils.

Photos by Prasit Tangprasert

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Writer: Prasit Tangprasert
Position: Reporter

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