The current school break, which is supposed to end in the middle of next month, has been pushed back to the end of June as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers on.
The cabinet this week approved deferring the opening of the new school term opening from May 16 to July 1 as the government’s virus containment efforts continue.
A cabinet-approved ban on classroom learning as well as outdoor and extra-curricular activities went into effect on March 18.
School terms in the next academic year were set to span from May 16 to Oct 11 and from Nov 1 to April 1 next year.
The Education Ministry says it recognises the July 1 deferment will cause disruption to its academic plans and classroom studies and will inevitably have a knock-on effect on subsequent years.
However, the ministry said a delayed school term is necessary to keep students and teachers from interacting face-to-face to eliminate virus transmission.
Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan said the ministry would inevitably have to make adjustments to school-break schedules.
Meanwhile, applications to enter Mathayom 1 (Grade 7) and Mathayom 4 (Grade 10) will be submitted through an online system later this month. If the pandemic continues, entrance exams will also be organised online.
The minister admitted, however, that online exams were not cheat-proof and were difficult to conduct successfully. The ministry was trying to find a way to devise a most effective and fair test, he said.
At the same time, Mr Nataphol said teachers are also being prepared to teach primary and high school students through remote learning, with many online programmes to choose from.
Later this month, the ministry will unveil an online teaching curriculum and experiment with the new system to perfect it.
“The ministry will equip teachers and students with the right tools [for online classes]. This may involve distributing tablets or laptops among them,” Mr Nataphol said.