Teerakiat admits to no school admission plan

Teerakiat admits to no school admission plan

Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin: Still working on school admission plan.
Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin: Still working on school admission plan.

Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin has tried to allay concerns that all schools -- including well-known ones -- are to only enroll students who live nearby, saying no decision has been made on the matter.

The Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) has admitted an idea has been floated for schools to only admit students from within their catchment areas and was now in the process of adjusting criteria for student intake for the next academic year.

The idea has reportedly drawn dismay from renowned schools, which worry that they would receive under-performing students, which would hurt their academic reputation and prestige.

However, Dr Teerakiat insisted the idea has not been acted upon. He criticised the rumours being circulated, which he said were misleading and causing misunderstanding. He said has discussed the issue with Obec secretary-general Boonrak Yodpetch.

Student selection criteria is being worked out and this misinformation is confusing both parents and students, the minister said.

A declining birth rate has led to fierce competition among private and public schools to attract students.

Dr Teerakiat said he has instructed provincial education committees to collaborate more and work harder to allocate students to schools to stop them squabbling over students.

According to Dr Teerakiat, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed that any approach to student admission must be fair and accountable.

"The [enrollment] criteria must take into account the benefits to the general public," said Dr Teerakiat, quoting the premier.

Meanwhile, Gen Prayut said Tuesday the government has not yet come up with an admissions policy for primary and high school students. Discussions are under way about this, he said.

The existing system for admitting students are entrance exams, catchment areas, lucky draws, and other special methods, he said.

A new student admission system must ensure equal access to education for all students, he added.

The premier also criticised people spreading "misinformation" about the school admission system, saying that to label something not yet finalised as true was wrong and unethical.

The government, he said, is also looking to establish a fund to support equal education in accordance with the charter.

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