No promise of free basic education in charter : Education Ministry
The Education Ministry wants the new charter to avoid promising 12 years of "free" basic education in order to stop schools from charging extra fees that often end up costing parents more than the waived tuition.
Education Minister Wijit Srisaan said yesterday that the Education Council had sent him its recommendations for the new constitution, which he would revise before submitting them to the National Legislative Assembly.
Most of the contents were based on the previous charter but adjusted to be briefer and more realistic.
The Education Ministry would propose that Article 43 of the old charter - stipulating that the government shall provide people an equal right to obtain 12 years of basic education with quality and at no charge - be rephrased.
It should say something like the government shall allocate fair and sufficient resources to enable the arrangement of 12 years of basic education with quality and equity, he said.
The old wording contained a loophole that let schools extract money from parents for "extracurricular activities", which often turned out to be ambiguous and even more expensive.
The new version would force the government to find ways to support schools with sufficient resources so they could provide quality education, which should lessen the problem of schools charging parents miscellaneous fees.
Wijit said the ministry had a longstanding regulation that schools could not charge for tuition. Fundraising from parents was acceptable as long as it was voluntary and the proceeds did not pay for regular expenses because it was the government's responsibility to support schools financially.
Even if the new constitution cut the phrase "free of charge" out, schools would still be prohibited by the ministerial regulation from charging tuition fees, he added.