Special fund helps 1m Covid-hit students

Special fund helps 1m Covid-hit students

More than 1 million students have received assistance through the Equitable Education Fund (EEF) in the 2020 fiscal year, deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek says.

She said the cabinet has acknowledged the fund's annual report for 2020 which shows it allocated more than 5.9 billion baht through nine schemes to extend help to students affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the schemes involves an annual subsidy of 3,000 baht, with conditions, for students from kindergarten to Mathayom 3 level.

The subsidy was provided to 994,428 students enrolled in schools under supervision of the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec), the Border Patrol Police and local administrative organisations (LAOs).

Another scheme is an education outreach programme for 26,055 children in 20 pilot provinces. It is an area-based programme to create learning opportunities for children who do not go to school.

Other schemes include vocational innovation scholarships for 4,588 students in 66 vocational institutes throughout the country; a homegrown teacher programme in which grants are provided to 328 rural students in 45 provinces who want to pursue studies in education and teaching; and grants for 9,056 workers in 51 provinces seeking to improve or acquire new skills.

As of September 2020, the Equitable Education Fund reported income of 5.538 billion baht and expenditure of 5.15 billion baht. About 99% of the fund was supported by the government through the budgetary system.

The fund was set up under the Equitable Education Act 2018 and in line with the 2017 constitution to address inequities in education, to support the education of children and youth with insufficient means and to develop effective teaching. It had an initial budget of 1 billion baht and is to be funded on an annual basis through a combination of government money and private sector contributions.

Managed by an independent board established by the Equitable Education Fund Act, annual plans and budgets require cabinet approval.

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