Ministry warns against tattoo ban
The Ministry of Education has urged the Association of Private Technological and Vocational Educational Colleges of Thailand not to ban students with wide ear-piercings and tattoos from enrolling in the next academic year.
The ban could affect a student's right to receive an education, Kamchorn Tatiyakawee, the education permanent secretary, said Thursday.
Association chairman, Jompong Mongkolvanich, announced on Wednesday that about 200 public vocational schools under its supervision will not accept applications from students with tattoos or pierced ears in the 2016 academic year because they are prone to committing anti-social behaviour and violence.
He also said association colleges will compile a blacklist to share among themselves to ban students previously expelled from colleges for carrying weapons or possessing illegal drugs.
Stricter policies would also be enforced concerning students' hairdos and uniforms.
The announcement set alarm bells ringing in the Education Ministry with Mr Kamchorn saying it would prevent many students from getting an education because many young people have tattoos and pierced ears.
"I understand the vocational schools are trying to improve the image of vocational education, but you cannot judge people by their physical appearance. Some students who have tattoos are good kids. You cannot deny them the chance to study," Mr Kamchorn said.
Mr Jompong said the association had discussed the problem of inter-college brawls and decided strict measures were needed to address the problem.
Mr Kamchorn argued that other measures can be used to screen applicants.
"If they are afraid some ill-intentioned people will try to apply, they can use other screening methods such as a criminal background check," he said.
Chaipreuk Sereerak, secretary-general of the Office of the Vocational Education Commission, said no vocational schools under its control will screen students because everyone should have the opportunity to study.