CCSA wants staggered school reopenings
Obec pledges to clear e-learning glitches
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) is considering allowing schools in infection-free areas to reopen first in July.
The proposal, made by the Senate committee on education, has been forwarded to the Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha-led CCSA for a decision, Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan said on Wednesday.
His ministry is conducting inspections to determine whether schools can reopen.
They must prove measures to prevent a new Covid-19 outbreak can be adopted. Schools are listed among outlets posing the highest risk of disease transmission.
Meanwhile, the government is preparing to distribute two million TV signal receivers to fix glitches that have disrupted its distance learning television (DLTV) broadcasts since Monday.
Many children, mostly in remote villages, have been unable to view the content, which is part of a state plan to hold virtual classrooms in case the Covid-19 situation is still volatile.
The ministry has set July 1 as the start of 2020 academic year but may change this if mass gatherings of students, teachers and parents when schools reopen are considered too risky.
Students must be able to study at home, but "we have found most cannot tune in to DLTV programmes," Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) secretary-general Amnat Wichayanuwat said.
Officials found many families do not have TV signal receivers, or "set top boxes".
Obec is working with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to solve the problem by handing out boxes to needy students.
"There are also some mistakes in DLTV content, but we are looking into it," Mr Amnat said.
The broadcasts are operated by the Distance Learning Foundation, which also provides streaming services for students to access educational programmes online.
Officials will conduct assessments to see whether the problems have been fixed and how students adjust themselves to what may become their new normal, Mr Amnat said, adding that all 225 education officers nationwide have been ordered to gather the information.
Ex-Future Forward MP Kunthida Rungrueangkiat, who champions education, warned the government that developing online teaching platforms should not be the only priority.
She stressed the authorities need to give weight to children and teachers' health which was also crucial.