MoE seeks B21.6bn to help parents

MoE seeks B21.6bn to help parents

2,000 baht per student awaiting cabinet approval

The Ministry of Education will seek cabinet approval for 21.6 billion baht to subsidise education costs at 2,000 baht per student to mitigate financial burdens for parents as a result of Covid-19.

Minister Treenuch Thienthong yesterday said the mitigation measures were proposed at a meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, on Wednesday and will be submitted to the cabinet for approval on Tuesday.

State-run schools had returned some maintenance fees and miscellaneous expenses to parents, she said.

Private schools affiliated with the Office of the Private Education Commission (Opec) had also returned some education fees amounting to about 2.27 billion baht.

Some schools also offered interest-free instalment plans, including helping to pay internet bills for at least one month.

As parents' daily expenses increased substantially during Covid-19, the ministry came up with further measures to help.

The government will be asked to subsidise the tuition fees at 2,000 baht per student in the elementary and vocational education systems with a budget of 21.6 billion baht based on a database of those involved in the free education scheme.

The funds are to help parents tackle financial issues during Covid-19 and can be spent on education necessities such as tuition fees, maintenance, internet bills or electric bills.

Privately-run and international schools will be asked to consider reducing their educational fees for parents, and set up coordination centres to help work on their expenses.

The ministry attempted to narrow the learning gap and learning set-backs caused by Covid on students by allowing schools to spend subsidies allocated under the free education scheme on fees, books, accessories, uniforms and development activities.

Additional funds will be allocated for a variety of educational devices for online learning for kindergarten to Prathom 3 (grade 3).

To cope with online learning, the ministry will also rent out 200,000 educational devices for Prathom 4-Mathayom 6 (grade 4-12) and vocational education.

In addition, the government has also come up with measures to organise vocational training for parents who lost their jobs due to Covid-19, which will cover travel and food costs at 2,000 baht each person.

The government will also search for initial funds to help parents start new jobs, Ms Treenuch added.

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