Teerakiat to finalise new exam dates
The Education Ministry plans to bring forward the examination dates for the General Aptitude Test (GAT) and the Professional and Academic Aptitude Test (PAT), which will be taken by 450,000 student voters, by a week to ensure they will be able to exercise their right to vote without having to worry about a potential clash of dates with the general election.
Recently, the Council of University Presidents of Thailand (CUPT) announced that the exams would be held from Feb 23-26 next year, while the election is widely expected to take place on Feb 24, though no official date has been declared yet.
Those who sit the GAT and PAT tests must be studying Mathayom 6 or higher and most of them will already be 18 and have the right to vote in the general election, based on the charter. Concerns have been mounting that many young voters will not have the opportunity to cast their ballots as they could be required to sit an examination the same day the election is held.
However, Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin said Tuesday he has held talks with the Office of Basic Education Commision (Obec) and the National Institute of Educational Testing Service (Niets) to discuss a way out if the general election is officially set for Feb 24 next year, and all parties decided that the examination dates should be brought forward by a week.
"The examination dates are likely to be changed from Feb 23-26 to Feb 16-17 to avoid a potential clash of dates. We will ensure that young voters can cast their ballots without having to worry about any overlap with their exams," Dr Teerakiat said.
Dr Teerakiat said the ministry will speak with the CUPT on Nov 1 to finalise the new examination dates of the GAT and PAT tests and officially announce them to the public.
"I think there will be no problem with the CUPT," he said. "The tests and the election will definitely not be held on the same day."