Princess goes back to Thai word basics

Princess goes back to Thai word basics

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has advised the Education Ministry to promote the traditional method of Thai spelling at schools to improve children's Thai language literacy. 

Permanent secretary for education Sutthasri Wongsamarn yesterday said the princess raised the matter during her visit to Chiang Mai on Tuesday to preside over the opening of a seminar on ways to improve the welfare of children in remote areas.

The seminar was held as part of activities to celebrate the princess' 60th birthday on April 2.

Ms Sutthasri said the princess has encouraged schools to teach students about the traditional method of spelling words and spelling variations. The princess said this approach should help improve their literacy.

The princess said she was taught this traditional method during her school years, but the ministry later changed it for a new approach teaching students to memorise only words, which leaves them unable to spell words and read properly, Ms Sutthasri said.

The Office of Basic Education Commission is taking steps to revive the traditional approach, she said.

The princess said developing teachers' skills is also important. She suggested the ministry give teachers a chance to broaden their horizons by going abroad to learn new ways of teaching, Ms Sutthasri said.

Even children nowadays can travel abroad, so teachers should also be allowed to do so to keep up with change, Ms Sutthasri quoted the princess as saying.

Addressing the seminar on Tuesday, the princess said she was glad to see projects to improve the welfare of children in rural areas have made progress.

She said she was happy many locals are in good health and make a decent living to support their families.

Children in remote rural areas enjoy better nourishment, and have better access to education. When they graduate, they will grow into quality people who can play a role in the country's development, she told the seminar.

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