Council tackles teacher oversupply

Council tackles teacher oversupply

The Office of the Basic Education Commission organises an examination to recruit teachers and educational personnel in Nonthaburi province. (File photo)
The Office of the Basic Education Commission organises an examination to recruit teachers and educational personnel in Nonthaburi province. (File photo)

The Teachers' Council of Thailand is urging institutions offering teacher certification programmes and the Higher Education Science Research and Innovation Ministry to adopt a so-called "closed system" for training teachers, to curb an oversupply of teachers in the country's basic education system.

Higher Education Science Research and Innovation Minister Suvit Maesincee has spoken to educational institutions about a proposal to switch to a closed system, in which the number of students, and which subjects those students can study, will be limited according to the market's demand for teachers, and they have agreed in principle, said Wattanaporn Ra-ngubtook, acting secretary-general of the council.

In the proposal, the ministry and some selected universities will begin implementing a 50% closed system, meaning that half of the enrolled students will be studying for positions that are specifically needed in the teaching market, she said.

"Because new teacher-training programmes are easily opened, each year between 40,000 and 50,000 students graduate with these degrees, while only about 20,000 new teachers are actually needed," she said.

As a result, each year more than 100,000 applicants compete for open teaching positions, she said.

The council's call came along with its revelation there won't be any new exams held next year to select new assistant teachers to replace the teachers who will retire. The council will give priority to those already on last year's list of successful applicants who are still waiting for their turn to be employed as assistant teachers, she said.

This means that people who are due to graduate with an education degree next year will have to wait another year before they are able to sit the teacher selection exam, she said.

The actual demand for new teachers is no longer as high as it was in the past, as the number of students continues to drop and the proportion of teachers to students needs to be adjusted in response, she said.

Currently, each university or institution offering an educator certification programme can decide how many students can enrol in its programme. The decision is normally based on the university's capacity, rather than on the actual demand for teachers, she said.

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