Obec denies 'Thaksin' cut from book

Obec denies 'Thaksin' cut from book

The Education Ministry has insisted it never ordered officials to erase the name of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra from history textbooks.

"There was no such move and Obec has no policy to remove Thaksin's name from history textbooks. Any history textbook taught in whatever class is the same," said Kamol Rodklai, secretary-general of the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec), responding to a media report the junta recently ordered the ministry to expunge Thaksin's name from a high school history text.

However, Obec would look further into the book's content, author and publishing company.

Schools have the right to choose their own textbooks, which may be written by various authors and published under the ministry's content guidelines.

The New York Times earlier quoted Thanom Anarmwat, the textbook's author, as saying Thaksin's name was scrubbed from the book by the Education Ministry following a military order.

Winai Rodjai, head of the Obec panel on history curriculum development, said the deletion of Thaksin's name was probably a misunderstanding.

He said the textbook has been in publication since 2010 and was taught in some schools for Matthayom 5-6 classes, or grades 10-12.

It focuses on a narration of history, so it might or might not refer to peoples' names in some parts, he said.

For instance, former prime minister Chuan Leekpai was mentioned in connection with events during his tenure in office from 1997-2001.

"But the incidents during the Thaksin-led government mention only the years. Thaksin's name is not mentioned," he conceded.

"I have asked the editor whether they avoided his name intentionally or if it was just the author's writing technique. He told me it has been in print since 2010 and he needs to check the details first."

Mr Winai said there was no order to remove Thaksin's name and the textbook was not a new one.

"History is history, so whoever was PM makes no difference to the past," he said.

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