|Photo Credits: L'Little Haritchanan|
BANGKOK, THAILAND. Primary and Junior-Secondary schools which are under the supervision of the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) in Thailand are to end their classes 90 minutes early and let students decide how to spend the rest of the afternoons, The Nation reported.
At the start of the second semester this year, the 3,500 schools under OBEC has been directed by the newly-appointed Education Minister Dapong Ratanasuwan to reduce the number of class hours. Instead of 3:30 pm, schools will now have to end at 2 pm.
The new policy was aimed at easing pressure on students, whose present school hours are considered as too long.
Minister Dapong told The Nation the few classroom hours would not alter the academic capabilities of the students as the core subjects will remain the same.
OBEC General Secretary Kamol Kodlai said although the students are dismissed early, they would not be left unsupervised because they still have to spend the extra time on arts, sports, music, dance and vocational training. "Although the class ends earlier, they will still have to engage in a variety of activities prepared for them by their schools," he told The Nation. "They will still leave school at the same time as before."
The policy has so far elicited different reactions from school administrators, teachers, and students.
A president of a school in Southern Ranong province, Sucheep Patthong said the policy is not a reform but a dictatorial idea. He added that many students take private tutorials after school because they want more academic studies.
Pichapop Panaudomsin, an M6 student at Phitsanulok Pittayakom School, said if the activities are not compulsory most students might choose to do nothing. "From Thai student's perspective, I believe students would choose to go home at 2 o'clock because many would prefer to do extra activities by themselves such as going to extra class or going to sports activities".