If you are a teacher in Thailand, then the law states that you should retire at the age of 60, by the end of September of that year.
For many schools, this puts them in a difficult position when it comes to finding a replacement. The Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin has now said that he is considering moving the 30th September deadline to March of the following year. But is this enough? And considering the national teacher shortage, should teachers have to retire at 60 anyway?
Teaching Without Pay
The September deadline for retirement not only puts the schools in a difficult position, but also the teachers that are retiring. Many of them end up teaching after their official retirement dates for at least the next academic year. However, they do this without receiving any pay – simply out of loyalty to the school, and because they don’t want to abandon their students right in the middle of a semester.
If you are a teacher, living on a retirement pension budget, then working for nothing will ultimately cost you money. Ethically, teachers should at least receive remuneration for the work that they do.
What about in private schools?
School teachers in private schools are in the same position. However, many public school teachers will change to a private school for the last few years before their retirement, simply because the rates of pay and welfare are better. Yet again though, it puts the public schools in a position where they are short-staffed and need to find replacements quickly.
What will the impact be if the retirement deadline is moved?
This is difficult to say. If the motion is passed and this becomes law, it will take extensive research which will take time. The change certainly won’t happen when the current government are in power. It is worth considering though that in the next six years, there are 150,000 teachers that are due to retire. Because there is such a teacher shortage, the Office of Basic Education Commission has made the decision to bring 10,000 retired teachers back to the schools to work part time – it still won’t cover the shortfall. Extending the retirement deadline to March will help to alleviate the shortages in a small way, but there will still be a problem. Perhaps the answer is to let teachers retire later than 60?
Solving the teaching shortage in Thailand is not going to be easy. This will certainly be a challenge for the Education Minister of the next government.