100,000 reserve students to help promote charter

100,000 reserve students to help promote charter

Reserve officer training students march at the Royal Plaza in mid-December 2014. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Reserve officer training students march at the Royal Plaza in mid-December 2014. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Around one third of 300,000 reserve officer training students have volunteered to help create a better understanding of the new constitution.

In Thailand, students of Mathayom 4 (Year 11 or Grade 10) can opt to be reserve officer training students. They receive military training at army bases close to where they live once a week for at least three years.

Almost all male students opt to be trained because they will no longer be required to enter a draw for military conscription when they are 21 and risk drawing the red card, which means they will have to serve in one of the armed forces full-time for up to two years.  

Lt Gen Veerachai Inthusophon, commander of the Terrestrial Defence Command which oversees the students, said on Thursday after being trained about the new draft charter, the volunteers will go to meet people in all areas to make sure they understand the charter. 

Each district requires 700 volunteers, he added.

The activity is part of the army’s ARF Volunteer programme where reserve students are deployed to help promote the understanding of the National Council for Peace and Order’s roadmap and achievements, including knowledge on the new constitution.

Charter writers have also lectured them to help propagate the knowledge.

Apart from having consent forms signed by their parents, the volunteer students will also be asked to talk to their friends or people of their own age so they understand the constitution and support the government and the NCPO, the general added.

“These activities will count as their training hours,” he added.

When the referendum on the charter draws near, the volunteers will coordinate with the Election Commission.

“As the referendum approaches, the students will help promote it. This allows them to help with national reform and propagate their knowledge and experience among people of the same sage,” he said.

A mobile application will likely be developed for them to contact with one another and get updates.   

He insisted this was not an effort to campaign for a “yes” vote as it aimed only to encourage as many people to turn out and exercise their right.

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