Govt lays out plan to tackle B1.4tn teachers' debt

Govt lays out plan to tackle B1.4tn teachers' debt

The Education Ministry has unveiled plans to tackle debts owed by about 900,000 teachers nationwide, worth about 1.4 trillion baht.

Education Minister Treenuch Thienthong said the government hopes to enlist teachers' savings cooperatives to solve the problems, with 12 of the cooperatives -- three in each of the four regions of the country -- to be chosen as models to work with financial institutions and local education agencies to solve the problem.

This model will then be expanded to other provinces nationwide in November, she said.

This approach was previously adopted by a teachers' savings cooperative in Samut Prakan and one in Kamphaeng Phet to address similar debt problems in the region, the minister said.

For example, they reduced interest on members' savings to no more than 3% and changed the interest on low-risk loans to bring them in line with those of financial institutions at 4.5-5%.

Other measures launched to help in-debted teachers included launching debt-restructuring programmes, withdrawing lawsuits against debtors and reducing loan interest for teachers aged over 75 years old to 0.25-0.50%, Ms Treenuch said.

Teachers' savings cooperatives are the main creditors and are owed about 890 billion baht by teachers, followed by the Government Savings Bank which is owed 349 billion baht by members of the profession.

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