Scholarship scheme to continue
The Education Ministry will continue with the One District One Scholarship project launched by ousted PM Thaksin Shinawatra.
The project is intended to grant scholarships to good students from low-income families.
Under the Thaksin-led administration, the government granted scholarships under this project to about 1,800 students who are now studying at universities both in Thailand and abroad.
"We are going to grant more scholarships but there will be some slight changes," Education Minister Wijit Srisa-arn said yesterday.
He said the project would be renamed "Scholarships for Community Development" and scholarships granted from educational-service areas - not districts.
"The educational-service area will ensure a fairer chance for students vying for scholarships. We must not forget that some districts have only one secondary school while some others have plenty of them," Wijit said.
He said the number of secondary schools in the educational-service areas was usually quite similar.
The Scholarships for Commun-ity Development project would also raise the maximum income of eligible applicants' families to Bt150,000 a year, from Bt100,000.
"We also plan to require scholarship recipients to study in fields that respond to the country's and their hometown's needs," he said.
Wijit expressed hope that the recipients would return to develop their hometowns after graduation.
He said he planned to ensure greater transparency in selecting recipients by having the National Institute for Education Testing Service hold the selection exam.
"For those choosing to further their education overseas, we will provide them with longer training for their life abroad. It's better equipping them with foreign-language skills in Thailand rather than having them struggling abroad," he said.
One of the scholarship recipients under the One District, One Scholarship project committed suicide in German because of home-sickness and language difficulties.
In a related development, Wijit said it would take nearly Bt6 billion to fund the education of all 1,800 current scholarship recipients under the One District, One Scholarship Project.
"For the 2007 fiscal year, we will need Bt1 billion for them," he said.