Obec seeks 8,000 teachers

Obec seeks 8,000 teachers

PM embarks on hiring drive to fill shortfall

The Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) is short of teaching assistants, and will hold a certification exam for applicants in October. (Bangkok Post file photo)
The Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) is short of teaching assistants, and will hold a certification exam for applicants in October. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has urged university graduates to take a national teaching certification exam as the government looks to recruit 8,000 assistant teachers, following a state delay in certifying some university teaching programmes.

The Office of the Basic Education Commission, which is facing a teacher shortage, will hold the exam in October to hire thousands of new teachers before the second academic term starts at the end of this year.

The country needs "good, smart people who love teaching", Gen Prayut said. He promised to tackle exam fraud issues that have marred the image of the education sector and, according to deputy government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd, could hinder applicants in reaching their career goals.

The prime minister said the government had improved exam procedures to make them fairer and more transparent.

For example, an exam regulation allowing applicants to choose more than one exam venue was previously exploited by some students who would sit an exam in one place and pay others to take the exam for them at other venues, to increase their chances of getting a good result.

When results were published, the student could take the best result from several exam venues and use that for their university transcript in applying for jobs.

The Education Ministry had now removed this regulation to prevent cheating and ensure fairer exams, Maj Gen Sansern said.

"Past criteria and exam procedures had flaws which led to dishonesty," he said. "But we now have new selection criteria and new regulations."

The ministry still needs to tackle other problems that could affect education graduates, said Surawat Thongbu, who chairs the Thailand Education Deans Council.

Firstly, there are currently not enough experts on the board of the Teachers' Council of Thailand, or Khurusapha, to endorse university education programmes, he said.

Many education students are about to graduate, but their programmes have not yet been certified, which will affect the granting of teaching licences to education graduates, said Mr Surawat.

The Khurusapha's board members include the education minister, deputy education minister and executives from key education agencies.

Mr Surawat, who is also a dean of Rajabhat Maha Sarakham University's Faculty of Education, said the delays were caused by board members having to juggle board duties with busy day jobs.

There are also no teachers or other educational institute representatives on the board to advise them, he said.

Worse still, many senior figures in the Khurusapha secretary-general's office are due to retire this October, causing fresh worries over the office's workflow.

"The Khurusapha's work may suffer further, on top of the delay in the certification process, which worries us," Mr Surawat said.

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