New school term pushed back to July 1
Cabinet greenlights move over virus fears
The Education Ministry has been given cabinet approval to defer the opening of the new school term from the middle of next month to July 1 due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, according to government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat.
The proposal was submitted to the cabinet meeting yesterday with the government's virus containment efforts likely to continue past May 16 when the new term is set to begin.
A cabinet-approved ban on classroom learning as well as outdoor, extra-curricular activities went into effect on March 18.
School terms in the current academic year were set to span from May 16 to Oct 11 and from Nov 1 to April 1 next year.
The Education Ministry says that it has recognised the July 1 deferment will cause many disruptions to its academic plans and classroom studies and will inevitably have a knock-on effect on subsequent years.
However, the ministry recommended that a delayed school term is necessary to keep students and teachers from interacting face-to-face to eliminate the chance of virus transmission.
Ms Narumon said the ministry will work closely with the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration to design practical methods for teaching and learning under the circumstances. The ministry earlier mandated an online classroom platform.
The coronavirus outbreak has also left plans for important academic events in tatters.
At the end of last month, the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) decided to allow students to apply for and sit high school entrance examinations online, as the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak is expected to persist beyond the start of the new school term in May.
Obec secretary-general Amnart Wichayanuwat yesterday said the commission met with a student admissions working group to discuss the possibility of moving the application, examination and enrolment for Mathayom 1 (Grade 7) and Mathayom 4 (Grade 10) online in light of the outbreak.
Obec had earlier ordered education district area offices across the country to delay accepting applications for Mathayom 1 and 4 -- originally scheduled for March 21-25 and March 21-22, respectively -- until further notice.
Entrance examinations for both Mathayom 1 and 4 -- initially set to take place on March 28-29 -- have also been indefinitely postponed.
Also postponed are student enrolments, which were supposed to start on April 6 for Mathayom 1, and April 7 for Mathayom 4.