The practice refers to the term ‘ghosts students’, referring to students who were enrolled in schools, but allegedly failed to show up or attend class.
The Office of Anti-Corruption in Public for Area 3 found there are between five and 38 ghost students in these schools, but at Kham Sakae Saeng School in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Kham Sakae Saeng District, the number rose to 196, office chief Pol Lt Col Samart Chainarong said.
“The problem is these students continue to receive subsidies from the Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) because the schools have not removed their names,” he said.
Obec supports both junior and senior high school students. Students from grades 7 to 9 are given a total of B4,800 each – B3,500 for educational help, B850 for student quality development, and B450 for textbooks – awhile those in the upper-secondary level (grades 10 to 12) get higher subsidies at B6,250 baht per head.
Investigators estimated that about B1 million in subsidies to the province was disbursed to 196 ‘ghost’ students. “We need to know, was the money paid to ghost students? Was it only false claims for subsidies, and who are these false claimants?” Col Samart said.
His office will start its probe at Kham Sakae Saeng School by finding out where the 196 students live and why they did not go to school, he said. The school told Lt Col Samart that the 196 are real students and their grades are listed as getting zero GPA or I (incomplete assignments).
The school claimed the students did not contact teachers to have their scores readjusted or notify the school they were pulling out. As a result, the school cannot just remove their names from the register as they could be in breach of the law.
However, when his office asked the school to send it details of the 196 students, it was reluctant, arguing it first needs to update the numbers, Col Samart said. The investigation would take another one month and the findings will be sent to the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission for further action.
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