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Phuket Opinion: Making the grade

PHUKET: Every now and then a little news story slips from view without attracting much attention, but appearances can be deceiving – sometimes these unnoticed stories allow us to peer into Thailand’s national psyche.

opinion,


The Phuket News

Sunday 11 June 2017, 09:00AM


Social science texts remain on the bookshelves at school libraries, but students will no longer have to pass the subject in order to move on to the next grade. Photo: The Phuket News / file
Social science texts remain on the bookshelves at school libraries, but students will no longer have to pass the subject in order to move on to the next grade. Photo: The Phuket News / file

One such story appeared earlier this week when Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin announced that three subjects will be dropped from the Onet exam – the academic hurdles that students must pass in order to progress next grade – to “ease students’ burden so they don’t have to study too much for the exam”.

Among the subjects to be dropped is social science. The Minister was clear that students will still be required to study the subject but noted that, “the subject should be taught with emphasis on citizens’ duties in a changing social environment so they can apply what they learn in real life”.

Adding, “I want social science taught in classrooms to focus on the duties of citizens and moral decency. The agencies concerned must establish a standard assessment criteria to regularly gauge students’ performance on those issues,”

Oh dear. There was no mention of citizens’ rights and responsibilities, and no mention of the functions of government and its duty to the public. Instead, teachers have been ordered to teach the next generation what is expected of them and how they are to behave. That’s it, despite all the rhetoric about leading the nation forward, reinstituting a “revised” constitution and talk of elections next year.

British International School, Phuket

Moreover, ensuring that “morality” is entrenched in the social science curriculum – of all subjects – while religion and culture (the other two subject dropped) smacks of irony. Worse, the terms used seem to indicate that even the nation’s bastion of education fails to understand the basic differences between the study of “social science” and that of “humanities”.

Funnily enough, whether the Education Ministry knows it or not, economics – rated so highly by the current administration – is itself a social science.

This latest educational revision strengthens the tradition of maintaining a docile, uneducated voting public and further weakens any public understanding of how their own country works will go the way of the dodo.

The good news is that with Science retained in the Onet exams – along with reading, writing and counting – at least Thai school graduates will know what that means.

 

 

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Jor12 | 12 June 2017 - 16:25:34

Kurt...you really must do some extensive research on the education and political system in Thailand before you start propounding your nonsense. 

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Kurt | 11 June 2017 - 16:03:17

Great PN Opinion again. I am not able to express it any better.
It is very sad to notice how education in Thailand, a developing country, is not upgrading, but downgrading.
For what purpose?  To ease 'students burden'?
HELLO! The world outside Thailand is laughing about such statement.
How to get developing Thailand at a level of 5E's, Smart, and Thailand 4.0 , etc, etc, if they not challenge their students to push to higher education levels but instead lower the education levels?
No wonder that many people leave/loose trust in thai schools and go for international schools for their kids.

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ChristyKSweet@Gmail.com | 11 June 2017 - 15:46:32

Sounds just like Chairman Mao's vision..

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