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Education reform

Cyber curriculum will allow more work at home

Self-study website to be launched, as in Korea

While the process of writing a new curriculum is ongoing and its progress has reached 40 per cent so far, an educator leading curriculum reform has already come up with next steps in the process. They will follow immediately after finishing the writing process for the effective implementation of the new curriculum.

Prof Pavich Tongroach, chairman of a basic curriculum and textbook reform panel and an adviser to the Education Minister, told The Nation in an interview last week he would provide teachers and students with educational learning software, launching a self-studying website for students and overhauling the teacher production system.

Cyber home projects will provide teachers and students with learning software at hand, as they'll be able to access the software at home. This project will play an important role in helping teachers fulfil their students' new learning styles when they're given more time to learn outside class as the new curriculum is implemented.

The project is adopted from the Korea Education and Research Information Service's cyber home learning system. The Education Ministry will work together with a Korean professor who took part in creating the system in Korea to initiate the cyber home project in Thailand, according to Pavich.

The Korean system has provided supplementary e-content for the system used by 4.4 million students, in parallel with teachers' lectures. The contents of the system are in line with the national standard used by Korean teachers.

"Since, the new curriculum is going to allow more time to learn outside classrooms, this project's software will show good examples of extracurricular activities [to] guide them on how to provide students with such activities," Pavich said.

He added the ministry would integrate the high-speed Internet systems of the offices of basic, vocational and higher education commissions to expand high-speed Internet access to more students, teachers and lecturers. He was rushing to establish technology for an education institute under the ministry as it would play a key role in using technology to develop education.

Inspired by www.khanacademy.org that provides over 4,000 educational videos free of charge in English, Pavich said he would launch a website with free educational videos in Thai for students to learn on their own from the website.

"Each video in www.khanacademy.org is approximately 10 minutes long - not too long for students' concentration," he said.

It covers kindergarten to Grade 12 maths, science, plus topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and even reaches into the humanities with playlists on finance and history.

"Before finishing the draft of this curriculum, we will open a website to explain its content and background and seek comments and recommendations from the public. After finishing the curriculum writing matter, we'll accelerate changes in teacher production. We'll try to produce a really new breed of teachers who make positive changes to schools.

"Good teacher producing institutions will be selected and ordered to incubate the new breed teachers who will be able to work actively to improve teaching of other in-service teachers at their schools," he said.

Pavich has updated the progress of the new curriculum writing that has reached 40 per cent. His panel has already defined subjects for students in different levels and restructured studying time so as to provide more for learning activities outside classrooms. "We will complete writing details of Prathom 1-Matthayom 3 (Grade 1-9) by the end of May. Then, we will look into the details of upper secondary education from Matthayom 4-6 (Grade 10-12.)

"We'll form a taskforce as a change management team that helps manage proper implementation of the new curriculum and changes that will occur with relevant people and agencies," he said.

However, he had not yet set a budget for the big move on educational improvements, he said.

In a bid to sustain the panel, the adviser would revise the panel now under the Education Ministry and propose that Cabinet approves the panel to become a national panel - so it would be able to continue to work on this in the long run, no matter which party is selected to be the government.

What will students study?

Prathom 1 and 2: Pupils focus on Thai, English, reading and maths. They also learn about home, the environment, how to learn, democracy, health, art.

Prathom 3: Study Thai, English, reading, maths, general science, technologies in everyday life, living and the world of careers, media literacy and communication, physical education, music, art, social science, humanity, and Asean, regions and the world.

Prathom 4-6: Apart from the subjects in Prathom 3, they study civilisation.

Matthayom 1-3: Apart from subjects in Prathom 4-6, they study domestic science, agriculture, business and entrepreneurship, sexual education, citizenship, morality and ethics, religions and philosophy, geography, Thai and world history, Thailand and Asia.


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