'Bad Students' take campaign to five top schools
Young activists also return to Education Ministry to press for reforms
published : 2 Oct 2020 at 20:08
writer: Dumrongkiat Mala
Student activists staged a mobile protest that visited five well-known high schools in Bangkok on Friday to demand education reform, an end to harassment of students and scrapping of outdated school rules.
The so-called Bad Student group also renewed its attacks on Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan for failing to solve problems of alleged harassment of students at schools.
As well, they demanded that he act quickly to stop the abuse of kindergarten children, which has been in the spotlight following recent revelations about teacher misconduct at a branch of the Sarasas private school group.
The students arrived in a lorry in front of Samsen Wittayalai School at 1 pm, then moved to Triam Udom Suksa, Saint Joseph Convent, Debsirin and Wat Ratchabophit schools before ending at the Education Ministry. At each stop they put up signs detailing abuses that they said had happened at each school.
The group submitted a petition to Supat Jampathong, the ministry’s permanent secretary, demanding the resignation of the minister if he cannot meet their demands for change and reform.
Student campaigners complain that the school system is geared more toward instilling obedience than education.
“Stop the harassment of students, cancel outdated rules, and give us comprehensive education reform,” said Laponpat Wangpaisit, leader of the group, in front of the ministry while braving the heavy rain.
The minister allowed them to go inside to escape the downpour.
Inside the compound, hundreds of uniformed students from different schools who supported the protest sang songs mocking school rules, and gave the three-finger salute of pro-democracy campaigners.
They also tossed 10,000 copies of a “resignation form” into the compound for the minister.
Mr Supat said the ministry is ready to listen to students’ demands and had already taken action with several policies to meet their demands.
“If students continue to show dissatisfaction with our performance or other issues, all relevant agencies are more than prepared to address those issues,” he said.
However, Mr Supat said some demands that are still regarded as controversial and may cause division will take more time for a full evaluation and consideration.
Their rally at the ministry followed an earlier protest on Sept 5.