Author Topic: Effigy of Education Minister burnt  (Read 486 times)

Offline Johnnie F.

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Effigy of Education Minister burnt
« on: May 30, 2012, 12:40:10 PM »

Effigy of minister burnt as rally watered down
A group of Bodindecha School students and parents yesterday staged a protest outside Government House, burning an effigy of Education Minister Suchart Thadadamrongvej over his "tea money" policy, which had favoured rich families and resulted in a number of students being prevented from continuing their studies in the 10th grade.

The leader of an anti-corruption network, Mongkholkit Suksintharanont, who led yesterday's protest, denied that he had tried to convince people with terminal-stage Aids to set fire to themselves in protest at the tea-money issue at the prestigious Bangkok school.

"I don't think one can force others to kill themselves that way, but people with HIV/Aids may think they will die soon anyway, and may want to make their deaths useful," he said.

A network of people living with HIV/Aids had earlier voiced their opposition to Mongkholkit's statement that three terminal-stage Aids patients had agreed to join the tea-money protest.

Mongkholkit later claimed that "the sacrifice" had been called off because it would have made huge news, which would be bad for the country's image. The burning of Suchart's effigy was therefore carried out instead.

Yossarin Talabnark, a senior official at an education office in Ayutthaya, led 20 students from four schools to the Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) to show their support for the policy in favour of tea money and their opposition to protests against it, such as the Bodindecha School hunger strike.

They later moved to Parliament and submitted a petition to Pheu Thai Party asking for an investigation into the matter, targeting Mongkholkit, whom they accused of launching the protest against tea money due to a business conflict.

Mongkholkit had allegedly encouraged Bodindecha students to go on hunger strike.

The students' studies at the upper secondary level had been terminated supposedly because of their very poor grades rather than them having a lesser financial status than those selected to take their places.

Yossarin said Mongkholkit had set up a private tutorial school, which later failed to pass a qualification test under the Education Ministry. "This is likely the main reason leading him to stage protests to smear Bodindecha School," he added.

Obec secretary-general Chinna-phat Phoomirat said the three students who had been re-enrolled but later quit, were not pushed out by teachers and fellow students after the school management recently made an announcement calling on all pupils to not accept them.

Chinnaphat said he did not know why the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) had agreed to initially look into the matter and possibly inspect the assets of directors of 20 schools at the request of Mongkholkit.

He will today appear before the National Anti-Corruption Commission to clarify allegations of graft at the schools in question.

A senior DSI official, Nirand Adulsak, said the DSI had complied with Mongkholkit's request and made some progress in interviewing the parents of three Bodindecha students.

However, the agency has not yet decided whether to officially investigate the matter.

The Nation