Minister laments poor Thai scores in PISA tests

national March 02, 2017 01:00

By The Nation

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SCORES OF Thai students in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) have not improved in 16 years, Education Minister Theerakiat Jareonsettasin said, calling it a failure of previous attempts to solve problems.



Addressing directors of education from across the country in Bangkok on Tuesday, Theerakiat said that since Thai students joined the PISA test in 2000, their scores have been stagnant and the gap between a high scorer and a low scorer was only 200 points – from a high of 550 points to a low of 350.

He said the country needed to improve the state of thousands of schools that were in the “intensive care unit”.

Informing the directors about the ministry’s educational reform policy and direction, Theerakiat said that teacher development would not be linked to academic standing.

He said the old criteria of promotion based on academic standing, which followed the Performance Agreement, would be scrapped. He said he had looked into the legalities and found no formal requirement for teachers to conduct academic research. Teachers were only required to undergo training to improve their teaching status.

The new criteria would consider a teacher’s work history. A teacher assistant must have at least two years experience, while professional level, senior professional level, expert level and advisory level teachers should have five years. Each level of promotion would require 800 hours of teaching for each year.

For a professional level teacher to be promoted to the senior professional level would require 8,000 teaching hours plus a certificate from a certified training programme for the desired academic standing and a certain amount of Professional Learning Community (PLC) hours.

Each teacher would have their own work achievement file and the school director would ratify the teaching hours they had performed, he said.

An inspection would be conducted randomly. If a teacher fails to accurately record the teaching hours, they would be punished for filing false information by having to start over from zero and face a probe by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, he added.

He said the new criteria would be completed soon. He said there were would a provision for promotions based on academic standing to be awarded under the old criteria too.

Theerakiat said the Bt10-billion budget for teacher development had been spent randomly and he planned to implement a coupon system instead. Each teacher would get a coupon valued at Bt10,000 per year to sign up for a teacher development course that fits their aim of promotion.

As there were only 400,000 teachers nationwide, the coupon system would require Bt4 billion and the remainder would be spent on teacher training.

 

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