Unlicensed teachers to tackle chronic shortage

Unlicensed teachers to tackle chronic shortage

The Education Ministry plans to allow degree holders who don't hold teaching licences to apply for jobs to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics (so-called Stem courses) in state-run schools.

The scheme is designed to ease a chronic teacher shortage.

Chaiyot Imsuwan, the Education Ministry's spokesman, said the ministry is trying to promote Stem education in response to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's "Preparing the 21st century workforce" policy which aims to increase the country's productivity and competitiveness on the global stage.

However, he said the ministry has found there is a crippling shortage of teachers in Stem-related subjects. He said the ministry is collating the numbers of non-teaching degree holders required to teach these subjects and the actual number of teachers teaching them.

"We were told by many school principals nationwide they are having a hard time finding specialist teachers in Stem fields as the number of people coming forward to teach those subjects had declined over the past few years," Mr Chaiyot said. He said many teachers in these fields had retired.

The ministry discussed the matter with the Office of the Teacher Civil Service and Educational Personnel Commission (Otepc), and the Teachers Council of Thailand.

After the meeting, both agencies agreed that non-teaching degree holders who had degrees in Stem-related areas such as engineering and computer technology, should be allowed to teach those subjects before being granted teaching licences.

Traditionally, those who did not study education as a major could not be licensed to teach in state and private institutions, he said.

However, the Teachers Council of Thailand might waive that restriction and allow them to teach without a licence for only two years, he said.

Within that period, non-teaching degree teachers must join training programmes necessary to obtain a teaching licence.

"If they fail to obtain a teaching licence after two years, the Teachers Council might allow them to teach for four more years maximum," Mr Chaiyot said.

"After that, if they still fail, the council would assess them based on their experience and knowledge as to whether they should be hired as teachers.

"Otepc has set a goal to start hiring people who did not study education as a major to teach in state schools by October this year."

Office of the Private Education Commission secretary-general Adinan Pakbara said the body would allow specialist teachers in Stem fields to teach in private schools nationwide.

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