Author Topic: Dropouts from a failed school system  (Read 812 times)

Offline thaiga

  • Korat forum specialist
  • *****
  • Posts: 15974
Dropouts from a failed school system
« on: September 12, 2012, 01:14:44 PM »
Meet Bank, a school dropout. When he became bored with herding cattle in his village in Ubon Ratchathani, he agreed to toil in a small garage of my car mechanic to learn the ropes. He was 16 then. After only three years, the teenager is now earning 15,000 baht a month, which is equivalent to the salaries of new university graduates, and dreams of setting up his own business in his hometown.

Not bad for a school dropout, isn't it?

Meet Tee, a college graduate in his late 20s. His parents work as my neighbours' household help. They spent most their hard-earned savings to give their only son a better future. But the half-baked education he received poorly equipped him for the job market. Tee is still unemployed and financially dependent on his parents.

Their stories speak volumes about how our education system fails our children, and our country.

Bank was a slow learner. He was bad at memorising text and there is no room in the school system for kids like him who are good at working with their hands.

He flunked at exams and was called a dumbo by his friends. Despite his parents' pleadings, he quit school after Prathom 6.

Things could have been different had the schools not used the standard applied to those who are academically inclined to judge students with different skills.

The country would not have been swamped by 250,000 dropouts a year had there been quality vocational schools to meet the needs of children like Bank.

The job markets would not have had to complain about a fierce shortage of skilled labour either.

Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Despite high demands for craftspeople and technicians, the Education Ministry continues to send a strong message to young people like Tee that college education is for smart students while vocational education is for dumb ones.

Without measures to detect students' different inclinations early enough, and with the poor quality of vocational education now in place, most children try to climb the academic educational ladder.

One in four fall through the cracks along the way. Very few who have money to pay for expensive cram schools can reach the top of the education pyramid to land high-paying jobs.

People like Tee who can only afford mediocre education at second or third-tiered colleges often end up with no jobs, shattered dreams and an unwillingness to do other work.

It's probably why there are more unemployed university graduates than unemployed school leavers, according to the National Statistics Office.

This is a wasteful system, and a dangerous one. Out of bitterness, many dropouts become anti-social or turn to a high-risk life which includes heavy drinking, drugs, gang fights and illegal activities.

The results are family tragedies, untimely deaths and a fast-ageing society being robbed of healthy, economically productive youth.

Bank is the lucky one. Car mechanic Paradorn, his employer, undoubtedly has helped turn Bank's life around. His comments may shed some light on how we should tackle the problem of dropouts amid a serious shortage of skilled labour.

"You have to understand these teenagers," he said. "They don't feel good about themselves so they can be quite temperamental. You need to know when to talk nice and when to be tough so they listen to what we want to teach them. They can't get this kind of close attention from school teachers. The classroom is too big."

One reason he agreed to train Bank is because he needed the teenager as much as Bank needed him. It's very difficult for small garages to find mechanic assistants. "Most youngsters now want easy work. They don't want to get dirty fixing cars. They end up unemployed even when there are a lot of jobs around."

Bank still needs additional training to keep up with new auto technology, said Mr Paradorn. But the courses must be inexpensive, he stressed. "These kids are poor. But they can have the skills we need if we help them.

"Right now, these kids' energy is badly wasted. Without motivation and state support, many are into drugs and other destructive behaviour. It's a real shame."

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


  • Guest
Re: Dropouts from a failed school system
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2012, 06:31:50 PM »
One might be forgiven for the mistaken belief that the education system is another amateurish failure.