Author Topic: Accountability is lacking in education  (Read 568 times)

Offline thaiga

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Accountability is lacking in education
« on: February 16, 2012, 12:43:21 AM »
                                  Accountability is lacking in education: seminar

THE NATION February 16, 2012 1:00 am
Thailand is losing out in terms of education not because of the lack of resources but a lack of accountability, a Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) seminar was told yesterday.
The "Revamping Thai Education System: Quality for All" seminar was held at Centara Grand Hotel in Bangkok's CentralWorld.

Ammar Siamwalla, a distinguished scholar at TDRI, said Thailand certainly did not have a shortage of funds or time for students to study. He said Thai children did badly in school even though they work harder and spend longer hours studying compared to students in other countries.
For instance, Thai students spend up to six-and-a-half hours studying science, yet they are unable to win satisfactory scores in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa). In 2009, Thailand's average score in Pisa was just over 400, while Japan averaged at more than 500 points even though Japanese children spend less than four hours a week on the subject, Ammar said.

A source from the Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) said the commission was planning to increase the number of primary school hours to more than 1,000 per year.

According to Ammar, Thailand spends huge amounts of money on education as per World Bank statistics. The budget allocated to the Education Ministry in 2011 was Bt400 billion, double the Bt200 billion it was given in 2003. Also, teachers enjoy higher pay, earning Bt15,000 per month in 2001, which was increased to Bt24,000 in 2010 on average.

However, Dhurakij Pundit University President Varakorn Samakoses lamented the fact that politics has drifted into the education system, leading to many problems. He said politicians have been trying to win votes from teachers by introducing policies like helping them overcome their debt problems.

"State policies have started dominating the education system. These policies have led to an increase in special classes for students whose families donate money to popular state schools, which supports double standards among students with different economic status. This affects private schools because few students turn to them, which in turn, can cause corruption," Varakorn said.

"Also politicians who have become education ministers have never focused on developing education. Each minister has a different policy. There have been 13 education ministers over the past 11 years, and education development plans have not been implemented continuously," he added.

Kosit Panpiemras, chairman of TDRI Council of Trustees and board of directors, agreed, saying: "Complaints from employers about graduates not having enough skills, poor performance in international contests, degree-selling scandals and lack of quality teachers reflect the poor education standards. These issues indicate that the education system is in a crisis,"

Instead, he said, the ministry should decentralise the budget and give the job of curriculum management to schools, so they can educate students in response to the changes in society and labour market. This way, schools can be held accountable and be assessed fairly and transparently along with the students.

In order to improve students' assessment, TDRI vice-president Somkiat Tangkitvanich said Ordinary National Educational Test (O-Net) should be literacy based. Since there is a difference in the quality of every school in Thailand, he suggested that the grade-point average should no longer be used as an element in central university admission.

He also suggested that schools should provide an evaluation report to parents, so they can see how their children's school is faring in comparison to other schools in the area. This concept has already been successful in Brazil's Parana state.

"By making information on each school's performance public, parents will be encouraged to pay more attention, monitor the schools and force them to improve," he added.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.