Political strife hits classes in the South

national January 17, 2014 00:00

By Methee Mueangkaeo,

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Support for PDRC in region sees schools close as exam period nears

ONGOING POLITICAL tension has forced several southern schools to suspend all or at least some of their classes. 
In Trang’s Educational Service Area 1 alone, the complete or partial suspensions have already affected 139 schools. 
Of these schools, 70 will remain closed today. 
“No parent has come to me to make complaints yet,” Winai Thongrat said yesterday in his capacity as chief of Trang Educational Service Area 1 Office. 
However, parents have already expressed concern about class suspensions. Via their Facebook accounts, they have said the prolonged suspension disrupts their children’s study. 
They are also worried that their children’s safety may be compromised because the young people will be alone at home during the class suspension while parents go to work. 
The People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) has been ramping up pressure on the caretaker government by asking its supporters to nudge civil servants to stop working as a gesture of civil disobedience.
If the supporters are in the civil service, they are expected to go on strike. 
A huge number of southern people have thrown support behind the PDRC, which has occupied several major intersections in Bangkok since January 13.
Many parents who support PDRC’s side have reportedly demanded that schools suspend classes. Many teachers have also stopped going to work in support of the PDRC. 
“If class suspensions continue next week, the impact will be getting serious because students are in fact scheduled to have final exams soon,” Winai said. 
In another southern province, Ranong, several schools suspended classes from Wednesday until today. Next Monday, they will announce again whether the suspension will continue. 
“Political conflict has now affected school students here,” Prarom Nakbamrung said yesterday in his capacity as deputy director of Ranong’s Primary Education Office. 
He said school closures affected the students’ number of class hours and their preparations for upcoming exams. 
“There are students who have to prepare for entrance exams to further their study too,” he said. 
Prarom said parties in the current political conflict should talk and solve the problem. 
In Chumphon, two secondary schools have suspended classes in line with the PDRC movement. Each has more than 300 students. 
In Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat, schools suspended their classes only on January 13.

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