Assumption College executives yesterday denied reports that the school was forcing teachers to quit because it was merging its primary and secondary levels.
Brother Sirichai Fonseka, president of St Gabriel’s Foundation of Thailand, Assumption College’s director Brother Anant Preechawut and other executives met parents to confirm that teachers would not be laid off if there was a change in the school’s structure.
Sirichai also denied reports that the school was going to be sold, dissolved or handed over to a private group or state agency.
He said the foundation, which owns two licences to operate the primary and secondary levels, had decided in 2011 to merge both levels in line with the National Education Act and Private School Act 2007. The Act stipulates that all private schools operate under a licence. Since the foundation has two licences, it legally means that it runs two schools. “So we decided to merge both levels to create solidarity and maintain our identity. This decision has nothing to do with teachers being laid off or the school being relocated,” he said.
Sirichai added that the merger was under the consideration of the Office of the Private Education Commission. As for the teachers dressing in black, he said they probably did that because they were dissatisfied with the working hours and remuneration. However, he said the foundation had been taking good care of its teaching staff and was contributing Bt45 per teacherto the welfare fund every year to cover free lunch, uniforms and birthday gifts.
He said the Office of the Private Education Commission has told schools to adjust the salaries of teachers who have bachelor’s degrees to Bt11,680, but added that all teachers in his school earned more than Bt15,000 per month.
“I have not reached an understanding with teachers who demand better welfare, because I believe we have been taking good care of them. I don’t think it is appropriate or ethical for teachers to dress in black to make demands,” he said.
The priest added that even after the merger, the campus would remain at Bang Rak. He added that the Rama 2 campus, which runs an English-language programme, has a different management team.
“Reports that the school in Bang Rak would move to Rama 2 are not true. The merger will not affect teachers or students in any way,” he said.
Parent Ampol na Lapoon said the merger was really a legal technicality because the school was not really operated by different entities. “Parents should have faith in the school and its management,” he said.
Meanwhile, teachers said they had only worn black one day to have their photographs taken with the school signs because they were sad the signs would be removed. However, some admitted that they wore black because they were uncertain about their future as they had not been given details about the merger.