Educational and employment development in the deep South have been emphasized by the Government in handling the southern situation.
The issue was raised for discussion during a meeting of security officials and representatives of related agencies at Government House, chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on 17 May 2013.
The Ministry of Education told the meeting that various education projects had been implemented in the deep South, based on the concept that they must equip local residents with knowledge and experience that enable them to be engaged in occupations.
Another important point is that educational development must create better understanding that Buddhist and Muslim Thais can study together without any discrimination. The Government has facilitated the use of the local Malay language at local educational institutions. The Ministry of Education has encouraged schools in the deep South to apply bilingual education methods in a bid to improve academic performance and create a more positive attitude among parents toward schooling. As Thailand is moving toward the ASEAN Community 2015, English communication is also emphasized in various schools.
Regarding security for local teachers, security officials have stepped up measures to increase protection for teachers and ensure that local students would be able to have access to education on a continual basis, without fear of any dangers. They have received good cooperation from the Confederation of Teachers of Southern Border Provinces in implementing security measures. Following the eruption of southern unrest nine years ago, a number of teachers were killed and local schools were also set on fire by a network of perpetrators.
As for the schools that were burned down, the Secretary-General of the National Security Council of Thailand, Lieutenant General Paradorn Pattanatabut, said that the Government plans to rebuild them. Both the affected state and private hospitals are seeking budget allocations for the project, which also includes the construction of dormitories, multi-purpose buildings, and classrooms.
The Government has a policy to promote general education together with religious studies and vocational education in the southern border provinces. After local students finished their studies, wider job opportunities should be opened for them. With greater opportunities for employment, the Government believes that southern young people will not be misled into instigating instability.
The education management in the deep South has now become more flexible in accordance with the lifestyle of predominantly Muslim communities.