The Minister of Education, Mr. Phongthep Thepkanjana, attended an edition, of the TV program, "Civil Forum for Strong Community", called "Good Community School" at Ban Nong Pradu School in Lopburi on 18 May 2013. The Secretary to the Minister of Education, Asst. Prof. Prasaeng Mongkolsiri also attended the program.
After the program, Mr. Phongthep said that this trip allowed him to get opinions from local students and people at and around Ban Nong Pradu School. He also had the chance to seek opinions from local leaders of the community, particularly on the issues of the quality and learning achievements of students after the merging of small schools.
According to the local leader of Ban Nong Pradu, merging schools resulted in good learning achievements of students and many parents and teachers were pleased with it. Previously, a teacher had to be responsible for many subjects, but after small schools had become larger, teachers only needed to teach their specialist subjects.
As far as school administrators are concerned, they need to work as usual and help executives of the schools they moved to. When there are vacant positions, the school administrators will fill them and work in other areas. Also, students' parents suggested that meetings with the teachers should be organized soon to discuss ways to develop and administer the school.
Some parents were still worried about their children’s transportation expenses. So, the Ministry of Education reaffirmed that students who moved to bigger schools would not have to pay these expenses. Other parents proposed to the Ministry that the bigger schools should provide courses to the lower secondary level. But above all, most of the parents felt impressed with the bigger schools because they were of better quality and were located in the center of the community.
The Minister of Education explained that merging small schools together was a process of educational development in Thailand. Nonetheless, public hearings should be organized for the sake of high quality education in Thailand. Schools that still provide quality teaching and learning will be supported by the Ministry. The Deputy Secretary General of the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC), Dr. Kamol Rodklai, will consider opinions from the public hearings and use them for educational reform in the future.
This TV program was broadcast on Channel 11 Thailand on 22 May 2013 from 2 to 3 p.m.