New minister sets five-year timeline to fix teacher crisis

New minister sets five-year timeline to fix teacher crisis

Newly appointed Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin yesterday vowed to solve the chronic shortage of teachers and instructional materials in schools nationwide within five years.

Mr Teerakiat said the ministry, under his era, will focus on fixing inequality in the education system which is in line with the guideline initiated by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, as part of the education reform plan.

"His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn told the ministry to follow in his father's footsteps in developing education during the oath-taking ceremony on Monday. Therefore, I and all officials will fully adhere to His Majesty's suggestion," Mr Teerakiat said.

Mr Teerakiat said he already handed over policies and guidelines to regional offices of the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) to find solutions for the shortage of teachers and instructional materials in schools.

"Obec will have to find out the root cause of the lack of teachers and instructional materials in rural schools and how many schools it must help each year," he said. He said his goal is to ensure there are no schools that lack adequate teachers and instructional materials within five years.

Mr Teerakiat said he had been instructed by the prime minister during the cabinet meeting to set up both short-term and long-term plans in reforming the education system as the government has only about one year left before a general election.

The ministry will have one-year and five-year plans, he said, adding they will link with the 20-year national strategy, which consists of six areas -- security, competitiveness enhancement, human resource development, social equality, green growth, and rebalancing and public sector development.

However, Mr Teerakiat affirmed the ministry would adhere to the former minister's policies such as the policy to cut class hours in state schools by two hours a day, the policy to promote vocational education among Thai youth and the policy to boost the country's English competency.

"All policies by the former minister will continue. I will only improve them. There will be no immediate change," he said.

The minister also vowed to eliminate corruption in the ministry, saying severe legal action will be taken against corrupt officials.

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