On the first day the Education Ministry online school program many poor children missed out as they had no access to a smartphone or internet to access for online classes. Many Thai children have found themselves unable to begin their new school term.
The problem has become a hot topic among netizens especially after cases emerged in Nakhon Ratchasima province of children prevented from joining online school.
Samran, 54, said that her grandsons are studying in Prathom 2 and Prathom 6, but their family is so poor that they cannot use the internet. Samran was upset that her grandchildren couldn’t attend online school.
Meanwhile, Pat, 60, said that her four grandchildren are studying in Prathom 1, 4, 6 and Mathayom one. But also had no way of starting their online school semester. She said that since the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown, her family has barely had enough money to eat.
Poor Thai and Migrant children go without
The education gap dividing the haves and the have nots threatens to become worse as online school starts. Many students live in remote areas of the country and do not have access to the internet.
A survey Conducted by Kasetsart University, found of 678 public and private school teachers in 67 provinces, 66 % of students do not have access to a computer, the internet or even electricity. Furthermore about 36% of students don’t have a smartphone.
The teachers concluded that only about 45% percent of students nationwide had the ability to attend online classes.
Online learning system criticized across the Thailand
Meanwhile, the Education Ministry online learning started started for students nationwide via six channels; – digital TV; Ku-Band and C-Band satellite TV; the Distance Learning Television (DLTV) website; smartphone application; and YouTube channels.
The hashtag #เรียนออนไลน์ (studying online) was ranked as the number one trending topic on Twitter. Above all as netizens voiced their problems. They included no learning materials; inappropriate teaching media; technical issues; unable to note content in time and website crashes. Students must register to attend classes running from 8.30am to 2.30pm under the supervision of their parents.
10 Facts About Child Poverty in Thailand
- It is estimated that about one million children in Thailand are living in vulnerable conditions. Child poverty in Thailand is a serious issue. These vulnerable individuals include children that live in poverty, have lost their parents, have a disability or have been forced to live on the streets.
- Child labor has long been a problem. It is estimated that more than eight percent of children between ages five and 14 are involved in the workforce. Impoverished children have no option but to enter into factory work, fishery work, construction or agriculture. Young children are also often forced into the commercial sex industry. Riley Winter, a student who recently traveled to Thailand, told The Borgen Project she witnessed children were giving tourists foot massages for just a small amount of money.
- Around 380,000 children have been left as orphans by the AIDS epidemic. This greatly affects child poverty in Thailand; many of these children are forced to live on the streets or enter the workforce because they have no one to care for them. It is also estimated that 200 to 300 children will be born HIV-positive each year.
Poor children in Thailand do not have full access to medical care.Out of the 20,000 children are affected by HIV/AIDS, only 1,000 of them have access to medical care.
- Children are being exploited. Thailand has become wealthier and, consequently, trafficking networks have been expanding to poorer and isolated children in the country. Child poverty in Thailand has led these children to enter commercial sexual exploitation.
- Child poverty in Thailand makes it difficult for poorer children to remain in school. They do not have access to the necessary tools to succeed and remain in school so they are often forced to drop out. The wealthiest group has 81.6 percent of children of primary school age enter grade one while only 65.3 percent of the poorest group enter grade one.
- Arranged marriages are very prevalent in Thailand today. A man from a wealthy family is often chosen because the dowry system is still utilized in Thailand. The wealthy man will give the bride’s parents money in exchange for her hand in marriage. This happens in poor communities in Thailand very often, taking away the possibility for the impoverished girl to receive future education, among other things.
Children are being forced to live on the streets due to things like violence, abuse and poverty. These children often beg or sell small goods for just a bit of money each day. They are at risk of poor health and lack of nutrition.
- Children are being left in rural communities. Thailand’s economy has been moving away from the agricultural sector and more money can be made in urban areas. Parents are forced to go to work in bigger cities like Bangkok, and poor children are often left in the care of someone else in rural villages.Parents send money back to their family but children often only get to see their parents one to two times a year. Although the parents are making more money, leaving their children comes with a risk. Children left in these rural communities are at risk of malnutrition and developmental and behavioral issues.
- Since the 1990s, child poverty in Thailand has been rapidly improving. The number of child deaths has decreased, literacy rates have dramatically increased, fewer children are malnourished and there are more children in school and less in the workforce.
There have been countless efforts made in Thailand to address child poverty but there is still a lot of work to be done. The nation has set long-term economic goals to be reached by 2036. These goals address economic stability, human capital and equal economic opportunities. These goals will be crucial going forward to help fight child poverty in Thailand.