Thailand’s Ministry of Education has reported it will seek Cabinet approval for 21.6 billion baht to subsidize school education costs for parents, at 2,000 baht per student in the elementary and vocational education systems, to mitigate financial burdens on parents as a result of COVID-19.
Minister Trinuch Thienthong said the mitigation measures were proposed at a meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, and will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval on Tuesday. The funds are to help parents tackle financial issues during COVID-19 and can be spent on tuition fees, maintenance, Internet or electricity bills.
She said state-run schools have returned some maintenance fees and miscellaneous expenses to parents, while private schools, affiliated with the Office of the Private Education Commission (OPEC), have also returned fees, amounting to about 2.27 billion baht.
Ms Trinuch added that the ministry is attempting to narrow the learning gap and is addressing learning set-backs caused by COVID-19 by allowing schools to spend subsidies, allocated under the free education scheme, on fees, books, accessories, uniforms and development activities. Additional funds will be allocated for a variety of educational devices for online learning for kindergarten to Pathom 3 (grade 3).
Teacher helps student with online education
In other news, the ongoing Covid-19 situation has forced every school in Phitsanulok to provide only online education to students. However, many students are handicapped as their families are not capable of providing computers or smartphones to their children due to the economic situation.
The family of 14-year-old Ivy is also one of the families unable to provide electronic devices for her to attend her online education, due to lack of income amid the pandemic. But help arrived in the form of Taddao La-ongkaew, a homeroom teacher at Municipal 4 School, Muang Phisanulok district.
Taddao visited Ivy’s house and lent her a laptop, plus THB3,500 cash for the family to pay their rent.
Taddao has also filed documents to request a scholarship from the Equitable Education Fund for Ivy to receive THB2,000 per school semester until graduation.
Ivy told reporters that she was very happy to be able to attend online classes and send in her homework. She intends to graduate from junior high school and study at a technical college to build a career path, so as to provide income for the family.
Source: NNT, The Nation