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Talk of 'good deeds passports' spurs doubt, cool response

THE EDUCATION Ministry has sought to downplay concern among students that "good deeds passports" may determine their chance to go to their favoured university.

Many teenagers have voiced frustration about the issue on social media and web-boards after Education permanent secretary Sutthasri Wongsamarn suggested on Monday that good-deeds passports would be issued to all school students and may be a factor used to assess university admissions.

In the face of growing protest from students, Sutthasri yesterday explained that relevant authorities had not yet concluded that universities would look into the good-deed reports before deciding which students to accept.

"It was just an idea being raised and discussed at a recent meeting," she said.

Sutthasri said several key agencies under her ministry - the Office of the Vocational Education Commission and the Office of the Basic Education Commission - have already issued good-deeds passports or good-deeds reports to their students as a measure to encourage to children to behave well.

These documents are designed to nudge children into embracing key virtues such as honesty, discipline, a sense of gratitude, a focus on public interest, and a love for the nation, religions and the monarchy.

"We wish to inspire children to do good things and care about public interest," Sutthasri said, noting that the idea of using students' good-deeds passports came up at a recent meeting of key educational authorities.

So far, she said children need not worry at this point because the relevant officials would gather well-rounded information from all sides before deciding whether to go ahead with it.

One person who commented on a popular web-board said he thought good-deeds passports would very likely encourage children to lie instead of doing good.

He invited like-minded citizens to voice their opposition against the good-deeds passports at www.facebook.com/Antipassport-goodness.

Created on Monday, this Facebook page had already got more than 260 likes yesterday. It also attracted many comments.

"In Thailand, we are in fact told to do good without having to flaunt your good deeds. The good-deeds passports run against this long-held tradition," another person lamented.






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