Assumption to resume classes
Education minister expresses relief as reopening moved forward
Both the primary and secondary sections at Bangkok's Assumption College will resume classes tomorrow, rather than on February 1 as previously announced, Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana said yesterday.
Assumption College director Anant Prichavudhi's suspended classes after some 300 black-clad teachers, parents and students protested against the college's planned merger of its primary and secondary sections.
Pongthep said the ministry was most concerned about the effect of the abrupt suspension on students, so it was a relief to learn that studies would resume tomorrow. He said the ministry would help to resolve any outstanding problems.
Private Education Commission acting secretary-general Charnwit Tapsuphan would meet with and gather facts from college executives from both sections tomorrow.
An announcement by Anant was posted on the school website saying the school would be open tomorrow as usual. "The protest ended on Friday night and I hope such incidents won't happen again, because it could hurt students' safety and the school administration," it said.
Dr Sitthichai Parinyanusorn, a teacher who serves as spokesperson for the Save the AC (Assumption College) Group, said the statement was posted after Anant's visit to the school yesterday afternoon. The group was continuing to monitor the situation at the school, Sitthichai said.
Brother Sirichai Fonseka, the chairman of the St Gabriel Foundation, which holds the college's operating licence, planned to hold a press conference today. The venue had yet to be disclosed, Sitthichai said. The Save the AC Group, and the foundation, has called for Anant's removal and the return of his predecessor.
Established over a century ago, Assumption College is one of Thailand's best known boys-only schools. The St Gabriel Foundation has about 17 educational institutions under its care.
Assumption College's primary school is located on Soi St Louis, while the secondary section is located on Soi Charoenkrung 40.
Anant has faced a barrage of criticism on many issues, including his recent decision to merge the primary and secondary sections. Things came to a head on Friday, when he ordered a temporary closure of the entire college.