Ex-Mae Fah Luang University lecturer "Dr Keng" never filed documents to prove her mental illness before resigning, the university said in a statement highlighting a lawsuit against her.
Dr Keng is being sued for 16 million baht for failing to continue to work to repay the scholarships she received, it said in response to a TV interview she gave yesterday morning in which she noted the legal dispute.
The statement said that Dr Keng joined the university as a lecturer at its School of Management on Oct 3, 2005. On Sept 17, 2008, she obtained scholarships from the university and the Ministry of Science and Technology to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Kent in England, it said.
Dr Keng graduated and returned to work at the university on Aug 2, 2013, it said. However, on Aug 19, 2014, she tendered her resignation, which took effect on Sept 1 that year, it added.
Before her resignation was approved, Dr Keng confirmed her decision to resign and said that she would repay the university and the ministry for the scholarship, it said.
She was obligated to pay the ministry 630,207.46 baht and £194,730 (8.6 million baht) and the university 726,305.94 baht, it said.
Finance Ministry rules only exempt scholarship awardees from repayment if they are diagnosed with a mental illness that obstructs their ability to repay.
Dr Keng never filed such medical evidence with the university when she resigned, the university statement said.
She presented medical evidence to the Administrative Court in Chiang Mai province but it was too late under her scholarship agreements. The court then ruled she must repay her scholarships.
Dr Keng appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court on April 18 this year, a move that could see the case taken all the way to the nation's top court.
A compromise is impossible to be reached during a trial in the Supreme Court and the university does not have any other options but to compel her to pay for the time being.
Takorn Tantasith, chair of a House committee on education, said yesterday that the panel will look into the case.
The panel will convene on Dec 14 to hear from Dr Keng and a Mae Fah Luang University representative, he said.
Education Minister Supamas Isaraphakdi said she has told officials to look into the matter, promising justice.
Dr Keng said she received mental health treatment for 28 days while studying for a PhD in England in 2012 but managed to obtain her degree. She then returned home to work as a lecturer at Mae Fah Luang University, she said.
On Aug 19, 2014, the anxiety disorder resurfaced and she resigned as a lecturer, she said. However, she was later sued for failing to repay her scholarship.
Dr Keng said she then sought reinstatement but to no avail.