Teacher retirement delay on cards

Teacher retirement delay on cards

Ministry mulls move due to shortages

Teacher and students at morning assembly. A developing shortage of teachers could add six months of mandatory service past retirement age for teachers. (NY Times file photo)
Teacher and students at morning assembly. A developing shortage of teachers could add six months of mandatory service past retirement age for teachers. (NY Times file photo)

The Education Ministry is mulling whether to shift the mandatory retirement date of retiring state-run schoolteachers from the end of September to March to give more time for schools to find replacement teachers.

Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin said Wednesday that many teachers choose to continue teaching after their official retirement for the sake of continuity.

"We have so many teachers who supposedly retired in September last year, but continue to teach students without payment until the end of the academic year, simply because they don't want to leave their students in the middle of a semester," he said.

By law, all civil servants in Thailand -- including schoolteachers -- who turn 60 must retire on Sept 30.

He said that private schools will also benefit from this move, as private schoolteachers often quit their jobs to work in public schools to get better pay and welfare during this period.

"If we can keep teachers at state-run schools in classes until March, we can stop teachers in private schools leaving their jobs in the middle of a semester as well," Dr Teerakiat said.

However, Dr Teerakiat admitted that it will not be easy to change the retirement date as it will have to go through extensive reviews and due legal processes, which means that the entire process may not be finished before the the current government leaves office.

"The current government will only be in power for a few more months, so this idea might not be realised during my tenure," Dr Teerakiat said.

"But seeing as this move can help improve the quality of the country's education system, it would be great if the incoming minister follows up on the plan."

According to data released by the the Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec), there are more than 150,000 teachers who are due to retire between now and 2025.

To help address the teacher shortage, Obec is planning to bring about 10,000 teachers out of retirement on a part-time basis over the next few years.

Retired teachers will be re-hired to work at small primary and secondary schools in rural areas nationwide, as well as several vocational colleges.

On a separate note, Dr Teerakiat has insisted students in state-run schools will not be allowed to wear casual clothing to classes similar to students at the privately run Bangkok Christian College.

"The move is a part of the the school's own research into the impact of student uniforms, which could also be cancelled if it is shown to produce a negative impact," he said.

"We won't rush to follow in their footsteps until we see a clear and positive impact for students."

Bangkok Christian College says the casual clothes move is to see if it boosts students' creativity.

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