Parents urge end to 'stressful' Grade 1 kids' entrance tests
The government has been petitioned to discontinue Prathom 1 (Grade 1) entrance tests by a group of parents who say the exams cause stress among children.
The group, led by Krongtong Boonprakong, director of Jittamett Kindergarten, turned up on Thursday at a Government House complaint centre, where they lodged the petition, along with a list of 11,000 supporters who also back the move, to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The campaigners said they want the Prathom 1 admissions tests to be scrapped and for the introduction of a law to protect children during early childhood.
They said it is important for children aged up to eight to develop physically, mentally and emotionally, so the kids must face suitable experiences in line with their age.
Ms Krongtong said admissions tests spark stress among the children and their parents which could be detrimental to the development of a child's brain.
Rushing children to learn something that is unsuitable at their age in schools in Bangkok and those in urban areas could lead to improper education values and conflicts with the principle of early childhood education, she said.
The group has also taken their move online to change.org under a campaign called "Stop putting stress on children and usher in a law that aborts Prathom 1 admissions tests".
According to the group's message, the government has overlooked a key element of early childhood education which is managing an environment where children are free of stress, worry, or insecurity.
This comes despite the fact that several Thai governments have pledged to ensure that children become smart, well-behaved, and happy.
Researchers from around the globe indicate that stress is an impediment for development and creating quality citizens, the group states, noting the country still has no legislation on the matter.
The Prathom 1 entrance examinations force children to rush through their studies as they have to prepare for tests one year in advance, the group says, adding that this deprives children of the proper learning process in line with their ages.
According to the group, tests cannot screen for smart children.