Prayut extends free education from 12 to 15 years

Prayut extends free education from 12 to 15 years

State subsidies of education will start early from kindergarten level and go through to Grade 12 under a Section 44 order by the prime minister. (Photo by Jiraporn Kuhakan)
State subsidies of education will start early from kindergarten level and go through to Grade 12 under a Section 44 order by the prime minister. (Photo by Jiraporn Kuhakan)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has invoked Section 44 of the interim constitution to extend free education from 12 to 15 years.

The order was announced in the Royal Gazette on Wednesday and took effect immediately.

The announcement revealed that state subsidies will be provided to all schools and management to cover expenses incurred by the implementation of 15 years of free basic education which starts from kindergarten level instead of Prathom 1 (Grade 1) and ends at Mathayom 6 (Grade 12), or its equivalent as Por Wor Chor 3 in the vocational education. 

The new 15-year state-subsidised education plan also covers “special education” for persons with impairments or special needs as well as “welfare education” for underprivileged children. 

The Education Ministry and related agencies responsible for providing education and ensuring the quality of the 15-year free system are required to present budgets proposals to the government for its annual expenditure. The funding of free education includes tuition fees, textbooks, educational equipment, uniforms, activities for developing learning skills, and other expenses approved by the cabinet. 

The financial subsidies under the previous free education programme remain effective until the new expense budget is set.         

The Section 44 order gives the Ministry of Education six months to amend related laws and submit the proposals to the cabinet for approval.  

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said Gen Prayut’s order did not overlap with the 12-year free education programme laid out in the draft charter, which is set to start from the pre-school level but ends at Mathayom 3 (Grade 6). 

He said representatives of the Charter Drafting Committee discussed the matter on Tuesday and concluded that the free education plan could be extended until Mathayom 6 and this would not contradict the draft charter’s related clauses. 


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