Assumption College told to reopen immediately

The Education Ministry has ordered executives of Assumption College to resume classes as quickly as possible.

About 300 teachers, students and alumni of Assumption College converge at the school in Bang Rak Friday to protest against the management’s planned merger of the primary and secondary section, which teachers believe will put their jobs at risk. THANARAK KHOONTON

The ministry said the one-week closure of the school would affect the quality of education for students there.

The order was issued yesterday afternoon after black-clad teachers, parents and students converged on the ministry asking it to help solve the problem of the school's planned merger of its primary and secondary sections and also the abrupt closure of the school.

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Phongthep Thepkanchana met representatives of the protesters and asked Office of the Private Education Commission (Opec) secretary-general Chanwit Tubsuphan to solve the problems.

Mr Chanwit said the school should reopen as quickly as possible to prevent the quality of education of its students from being damaged.

He said his legal staff would talk to executives of the school today about the reasons behind the closure.

Nearly 300 teachers, parents and students dressed in black gathered around the statue of Father Emile August Colombet, a French missionary priest and the school's founder, inside the school in Bang Rak district to protest against the planned merger of the two sections yesterday morning.

As a result, executives of Assumption College abruptly ordered the closure of the school between yesterday and Jan 31. They said the school will resume classes on Feb 1.

The protesters placed wreaths in front of the school. They said they were afraid that the merger plan would affect their careers in the future and would like the school's executives to revise it. The merger plan is now being considered by the Opec.

Varaporn Sangpolasit, head of the Learning and Teaching in primary section of the school, who led the protest and travelled to the ministry, said the merger plan of the primary and secondary sections needs to be revised by the school executives.

Ms Varaporn said school director Anant Prichavudhi should be sacked from his position and teachers' salaries should be increased.

The protesters also want the ministry to look into the abrupt closure of the school, she said.

She said the merger plan of the two sections means the school will start cutting all teachers' salaries by 3,500 baht this month.

Supawadee Khamfeukfon, a teacher who joined the protest, said Mathayom 6 (Grade 12) students would be those affected the most by the school's closure as they had to take a final exam next Monday and another exam of the Ordinary National Educational Test next month.

No representatives of the school came out to meet the protesters yesterday. At a press conference early this month they assured that all school staff and teachers would be unaffected by the merger plan.

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Writer: Lamphai Intathep and Nasreen Ngoh