The outbreak has caused far-reaching economic impacts on many sectors of society, including the families of university students, the minister Suvit Maesincee said. He has asked for cooperation from universities and launch schemes to assist students and their families during these hard times.
The schemes aimed at helping families cut university-associated expenses including reducing tuition fees for the first term of the academic year starting in August. Mr Suvit said 52 universities have so far agreed to introduce wide-ranging assistance measures.
Thammasat University has extended payment of any outstanding tuition fees until the end of August and established a scholarship fund worth B15 million while, Chulalongkorn University has pledged to return dormitory deposit money to students.
Kasetsart University, meanwhile, is offering tuition payments in installments and scholarships. Others have agreed to discount tuition fees by 20% to 25% for the next term.
Mr Suvit added that several universities were also launching their own assistance programmes for faculty members and staff.
Also yesterday (Apr 14), the Education Ministry floated the idea of combining university placement tests into one to do away with duplication.
Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan said Mathayom 6 (grade 12) students are currently having to sit four university-entrance tests; the Ordinary National Educational Test (O-Net), General Aptitude Test (Gat), Professional Aptitude Test (Pat) and national nine core subject examinations.
The minister is looking at whether there should be a single exam that combines all four tests which can comprehensively assess an applicant’s abilities.
Mr Nataphol said a single test should take the form of the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT). The test, part of the university admission process in the US, measures an applicant’s verbal and mathematical abilities as well as achievements in a variety of subject areas. It gauges a student’s scholastic ability and achievements rather than aptitude.