Thailand

School admin staff to start work next month

Starting in two weeks, teachers in all 30,000 state-run schools will get administrative assistants to help with the large amount of non-classroom paperwork. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Teachers in 30,000 state-run schools will no longer have to perform administrative duties from the start of next month, which they say could free up more of their time which they can put into improving students' academic performance.

The Education Ministry has allocated a budget of 3 billion baht to recruit administrative staff for state-run schools to free up teachers so they can concentrate on teaching.

"We have to reduce the burden on teachers. Starting on Oct 1, teachers won't have to do administrative work, someone else will be hired to do this kind of work for them," said Mr Boonrak Yodpetch, secretary-general of the Office of Basic Education Commision (Obec).

In what it describes as an "unprecedented" move, Obec is hiring 15,000 administrative workers for schools nationwide, though it also expects the move will lead to improved grades.

A study conducted by the Quality Learning Foundation found that Thai teachers spend 84 of the 200 school days a year, or 42% of their time, performing non-teaching-related duties.

These activities include administrative work, external evaluation of academic performance from various organisations and unnecessary competitions and training.

Obec is also expected to scale down or even scrap activities deemed unnecessary to further streamline the education system and focus schools' activities on helping students achieve better grades.

Mr Boonrak said the office will gradually expand the recruitment drive to cover 40,000 schools under its supervision. The first batch of 15,000 administrative staff will be assigned to work at 30,000 schools, with each worker covering two schools.

For the remaining 10,000 schools, Mr Boonrak said Obec will need to wait for budget approval for its plan to hire another 16,000 temporary employees who will be paid 9,000 baht a month and asked to work at only one school.

Meanwhile, Obec has also warned that some teachers may have to rotate between areas to fill upcoming shortages as around 20,000 teachers will retire in this October.

However, Mr Boonrak said the office expects no problems as it has around 40,000 candidates on its waiting list to become teachers.

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