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Schools in the South badly affected by protest

Caretaker Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang yesterday expressed concern over reports that some 400 schools and educational institutes in 14 southern provinces were being forced to close due to the ongoing political protests.

Since hearing that certain schools and colleges in the South faced the threat of forced closure, Chaturon said the community, as well as parents and teachers, should talk to the People's Democratic Reform Committee. He said the ministry could not step in, because the group would not negotiate with anyone.

Of the 80 institutes under the Office of Vocational Education Commission in the South, 46 had been closed, with all vocational schools in Chumphon, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Krabi and Satun not holding classes anymore, he said. Since the Office of Basic Education Commission has yet to submit a clear report, he said, though he had heard that all schools in Chumphon were closed. However, he added, he had heard that 280 private schools in the three southernmost provinces had reopened.

In Bangkok, all schools have resumed classes, though some students and teachers are still finding it difficult to commute, he said, adding that the rate of absent students was now 15 per cent.


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