Prayut teaches teachers how to teach

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Friday advised teachers on the direction they should follow as he steers the country toward reforms.

Dutchman Terence Van de Haar and his family watch the installation of banners designed by his firm and proclaiming the "12 core values" at the Office of the permanent secretary of the PM's Office on Thursday. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

Speaking on his weekly broadcast, Gen Prayut called on teachers to cooperate in promoting the "12 core values" drawn up by the military junta and enthusiastically adopted by the Education Ministry. The ministry has ordered all schools across the country to ask students to remember them.

The coup leader and outgoing army chief said he was expecting even more involvement from teachers as they played an important role in attempts to promote reconciliation in the country.

"Please do not teach with the intention of further causing tensions and confrontation at a time of national reform," he said in his Returning Happiness to the People programme.

The core values include having love for the monarchy, nation and religion; being honest, patient and good toward the public; showing gratitude to parents, guardians and teachers; persevering in learning; having strength against greed and putting concern about the public and national good above self-interest.

They also say pupils should conserve Thai culture; be moral and share with others; show discipline and respect for the law and elders; live by His Majesty's sufficiency economy philosophy, and understand that democracy functions with the monarch as the head of state.

Schools will be tested on how well their teachers succeed in making sure students know the values. The Office for National Education Standards and Quality Assessment has been asked to carry out the test.

Gen Prayut also hit back at 60 academics from 16 universities who cried foul over threats to academic freedom after police cut short a forum titled "The Decline of Dictatorships in Foreign Countries" at Thammasat University's Rangsit campus on Sept 18.

The coup leader said at the time that discussing such topics in public could only lead to more discord and impede national reconciliation. Besides, he said, everyone knew he wasn't elected so there was no point debating it further.

On Friday he added: "There are many other academics that do understand the situation and do not have a problem with it. Let society be the judge of your actions."

The lecturers signed a petition and took it to Khlong Luang police station in Pathum Thani province where three academics and a number of student organisers were detained and released in the same night of Sept 18 after being reminded of the martial-law ban on political activities. The message in the petition was apparently directed at the National Council for Peace and Order.

Martial law does not permit gatherings of more than five people for political events.

Gen Prayut also said visits to other countries by him and cabinet ministers would be carefully screened to prevent unnecessary trips.

"This cabinet and myself will try not to make international trips unless there is an urgent need to do so," he said. "Please rest assured that this government will be careful not to make overseas visits unnecessarily."

Yingluck Shinawatra faced heavy criticism for her globetrotting during her two-year stint as prime minister before being deposed by Gen Prayut on May 22.

She made at least 52 trips to 41 countries including Montenegro where her brother, fugitive former premier Thaksin, obtained citizenship.

Gen Prayut's first trip outside Thailand will be Myanmar but the date has not been fixed. He will visit Malaysia to send a message to Kuala Lumpur on the resumption of peace talks with southern separatists, with Malaysia to facilitate meetings.

Also in the pipeline are the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Nay Pyi Taw in Myanmar and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Beijing. The two events will be held in November.

Related search: prayut chan-o-cha, speech, reform, coup, martial law, yingluck shinawatra, apec, asean

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