With its low pay and long working hours, teaching is an unenviable job. But in the three southernmost provinces, it is also highly risky because of the deadly threat posed by Islamic extremist gangs. Grim statistics which show 157 teachers or educators killed in the past nine years, including four who were murdered within the space of 19 days between Nov 22 and Dec 11, provide a chilling reminder of the perils to anyone aspiring to become a teacher in the strife-torn region.
Despite the danger and prospect of sudden death at the hands of brutal militants, there are still teachers _ although not many of them _ who have vowed to carry on teaching young students, both Thai and ethnic Malay Muslims. They want to ensure they are educated like all other children across the country.
It is this group of teachers who need protection to prevent them falling victim to violent attacks by the militants or other outlaw elements active in the region. But this does not mean that other less dedicated teachers who are waiting to be transferred elsewhere for their own safety should not be given security escorts.