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Thailand to cut school hours in major curriculum overhaul

Picture courtesy of Thai PBS

Thailand’s Ministry of Education is preparing for a significant transformation of the core curriculum, aiming to reduce school hours and encourage learning beyond the classroom.

The Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) is spearheading this initiative and has requested the ministry’s approval to establish a panel that will oversee a comprehensive revision of the basic studies curriculum, which has been in place since 2008, according to Thanu Wongjinda, Obec secretary-general.

This revamp is intended to modernise the country’s basic-level education. The office has already been updating individual courses to stay in sync with global changes by incorporating more technology-based subjects.

However, the upcoming changes are expected to represent a substantial leap forward for Thailand’s educational system.

Thanu stated that once the revision panel is appointed, it will begin its work immediately. The panel’s primary task will be to scrutinise each subject and identify potential improvements. One of the main proposed changes is the reduction of school hours, supported by research indicating that Thai students currently face some of the longest school hours worldwide.

Students in Pathom 1 to 6 (grades one to six) currently experience no less than 1,000 hours of compulsory and supplementary classes as well as developmental activities per academic year.

In Mathayom 1 to 3, or lower secondary schools (grades seven to nine), students face at least 1,200 hours of classes annually.

For Mathayom 4 to 6, or upper secondary school students (grades 10 to 12), the total exceeds 3,600 hours over three years.

“It only makes sense to try and scale back study hours,” Thanu said.

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The committee will welcome input from educational professionals, students, parents, textbook publishers, and other related sectors for the planned overhaul.

In a related development, Deputy Education Minister Surasak Phancharoenworakul voiced concerns over a reduction in the budget allocated for the ministry’s Learning Anywhere Anytime project, which primarily uses online learning platforms and targets Mathayom 4 to 6 students.

An initial budget of 7.6 billion baht (US$ 205.5 million) had been proposed for the next fiscal year. However, during budget scrutiny, the allocation was cut to 4.1 billion baht (US$ 110 million), reported Bangkok Post .

“The cut will hurt the overall efficiency of the project,” the deputy minister said.

Thailand News

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