Ministry urges unis to control hazing rites

Ministry urges unis to control hazing rites

Senior students entertain freshmen at Chiang Mai University on July 20, 2018 with a dance performance during a welcoming activity called ‘Once Upon a Train’ that involves them taking a train ride together from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
Senior students entertain freshmen at Chiang Mai University on July 20, 2018 with a dance performance during a welcoming activity called ‘Once Upon a Train’ that involves them taking a train ride together from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation has warned universities nationwide to strictly regulate their annual initiation rites for freshmen or so-called rab nong ceremonies and ban all activities which can cause harm to students.

Soranit Siltharm, permanent secretary of the ministry, said on Wednesday he has written to universities across the country asking them to comply with the ministry's guidelines on conducting hazing rituals.

The guidelines entail the following: all hazing-related activities must be constructive and provide a good image in the eyes of the public; all activities must take into account the rights and liberty of the freshmen and the principle of equality, and no violations of an individual’s rights can take place; all liquor must be banned; hazing-related activities must not interfere with learning; and all activities must come under the supervision and responsibility of the campus administrators, teaching staff and the senior students.

Mr Soranit said freshmen should join the activities on a voluntary basis and their parents must have the right to observe such activities. Also, senior students in charge of the activities must be screened.

“Each individual university must work out disciplinary measures to deal with abusive senior students or activities which go against the basic principle of human rights. We will have zero tolerance for any form of violence in freshmen hazing rituals this year,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Council of University Presidents of Thailand (CUPT) recently revealed that more than 200,000 university seats are still vacant after all five rounds of the 2019 Thai University Central Admission System (TCAS) were completed.

“The falling birth rate is a key factor,” CUPT president Suchatvee Suwansawat said, admitting the low number of students has sent a worrying signal to all universities.


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