On 19 May 2013, the Minister of Education, Mr. Phongthep Thepkanjana, participated in a public seminar, "Enhancing Efficiency of Administration for Small Schools," at Wat San Klang Nua School in San Kamphaeng District and Ban Phueng School in Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai.
In terms of Wat San Klang Nua School, its teaching and learning system has been adjusted gradually, with the approval of the school committee, the parents and the local community, since 2000. Initially, students from three other schools: Ban Mon, Wat San Klang Tai and Wat San Klang Nua, were asked to study together. Since then, Ban Mon School has offered kindergarten courses; Wat San Klang Nua has provided primary education and Wat San Klang Tai has been used for various school activities and community services, such as an OTOP Center and a Non-Formal and Informal Education Service Center.
According to the School's director, Mr. Yongyuth Wongchai, the merging of the three schools has been done since 2000 after a public hearing with students, parents and local community members. The merger yielded good results as students enjoyed impressive learning achievements and there were enough teachers to work full time. Now, OBEC is providing support for school buses to transport students to and from the school.
Mr. Phongthep said that merging of small schools should only be done after public hearings in which local people unanimously approve.
Some recommendations were also made at this public seminar, especially regarding financial support for the principal school after merging and expanding educational opportunities to the lower secondary level so that students will not have to study at schools located very far away. Mr. Phongthep said that it depended on the number of students and the availability of schools. Lately, some merged schools have already started to provide secondary education.
Mr. Praphat Pothi is the director of Ban Phueng School. The school accepts students from Wat Mae Ho Phra, Mae Na Pak and Fai Witthayakarn. Its management is done according to the plan for school administration to develop the effectiveness of managing a cooperative network through the use of proper innovations, in terms of technology, learning resources, teachers and educational personnel. This also includes support for school buses for transportation to other learning centers and academic camps.
The Ministry of Education does not have any definite rules to merge any schools but focuses on upgrading the quality of Education in Thailand. This can be done in various ways, so cooperation is needed from local communities, local administrations and religious affairs to develop small schools, especially those in remote areas.
From the public seminar at Ban Phueng School, major recommendations concern the need for a center of child development and provision of a budget for building renovation, computer rooms, more classrooms and a playground.