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Education gets lion's share of the budget

The biggest slice of the fiscal pie will again go to the Education Ministry.

Entrusted with the mission of schooling some 12 million children and improving educational quality, the ministry is set to get 20 per cent, or Bt502.245 billion of the planned expenditure in the next fiscal budget, a raise of Bt19 billion from its appropriation this year.

Combined with strategies for public health, virtue and morality and quality of life, educational spending by the state will reach Bt955.92 billion in the 2015 fiscal year starting on October 1.

The Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) will receive Bt315 billion - 12 per cent of the total budget or 60 per cent of the ministry's budget. The lion's share - about 70 per cent, or Bt233 billion - will pay teachers' salaries.

The per-head subsidy will be Bt42.76 billion, operating budget Bt22.16 billion, investment budget Bt16.31 billion and other expenses Bt187 million.

"This year the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) tries to fulfil basic needs to prevent future obstacles to education development. The NCPO approved an additional Bt3.4 billion budget for Obec to build 1,000 elevated four-classroom buildings for mid-sized schools plus some money for repairs and electricity," Kamol Rodklai, secretary-general of Obec, said yesterday.

The Bt8 billion hike would meet nicely with the raises for teachers which cost Bt20 billion, he said.

The National Legislative Assembly has completed the first reading of the B2.57-trillion budget bill for fiscal 2015. There was promise for science development.

The NCPO has vowed to focus on research and development (R&D) and applied research for the country's benefit. The budgetary framework for R&D saw a 5-per-cent hike to almost Bt20 billion, which is higher than past years.

The National Research Council of Thailand, which sets the research direction and propels the work forward, is expected to maximise budget spending in terms of goal-oriented research and research and human resource development.

Research and development will focus on five agricultural products, including rice, cassava and rubber, logistics, tourism, energy and industry.

The 2015 budget plan has specifically allotted funds to clear-cut missions. For example, Bt20.3 billion will go to integrated information and communications technology (ICT) development to ensure people's access and effective use of ICT.

Up to 168 state agencies will receive support under this part of the budget for network integration and public sector information management and IT basic infrastructure development for learning and education. The Office of the Permanent Secretary for the ICT Ministry will spearhead efforts here.

The Lifelong Learning Development mission will get Bt93.81 billion. Led by the Office of Permanent Secretary for Social Development and Human Security Ministry, 17 state agencies will use the budget to enhance people's quality of life and access to social services, spanning child development, enhancement of occupational skills, underprivileged people's care, rights protection and equity promotion.

The mission of drug suppression and prevention as well as drug addict rehabilitation will get Bt9.64 billion. It involves 27 state agencies, led by the Office of the Narcotics Control Board.


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