BANGKOK -Suthep Chittayawong, deputy secretary of Thailand’s Office of Basic Education Commission, has ordered schools to carry out urgent background checks on the country’s foreign teachers after Australian convicted pedophile Peter Dundas Walbran was discovered teaching children in north-eastern Thailand.
Education officials admit that some foreigners applying for teaching jobs falsify their credentials and many schools fail to carry out proper background checks on applicants.
Suthep Chittayawong, said notices have been sent to all schools ordering background checks, including on any criminal convictions and the authenticity of academic qualifications.
He said some foreign applicants falsify their credentials because fake academic documents are easily obtained in Thailand.
“I know some schools choose to hire foreign teachers first and run background checks on them later,” Suthep told the Bangkok Post.
“This is because language teachers are in high demand and the checking process usually takes time and is expensive for the schools.”
Suthep said an investigation is underway to determine how Peter Walbran, a former head of school at the Australian International School in Jakarta, was able to get a job in Ubon Ratchathani despite publicity about his past crimes.
The secretary-general of Thailand’s Private Education Commission Office, Adinan Pakbara, also warned private schools to tighten screening processes.
“Foreign embassies, the immigration bureau, the police and schools themselves should share information,” he said.
Peter Dundas Walbran left Australian unnoticed early this year after failing to register on Australia’s National Child Offender Register after being deported from Indonesia, where he served just over two years of a three-year jail sentence for child sexual abuse.
Mr.Walbran will be deported from Thailand on the grounds of bad character if police do not find evidence that he committed offenses in the country.
He is being held in an immigration detention cell.