THE NEW TEACHER accreditation criteria has been put in place to allow Thailand’s 400,000 teachers to put in quality time to benefit students and to ensure devoted teachers are properly and fairly rewarded.
The new rule, from the Office of Teacher Civil Service and Educational Personnel Commission, has been in effect since July 5. It carries an exemption allowing teachers hired before July 5 to apply for the old-style accreditation once within this year while those hired after that date can apply only for the new criteria.
Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin quoted the late King Rama IX’s royal message on the matter on July 5, 2012, that inspired the ministry to address the issue for the past five years.
The royal message stated: “Thai teachers tend to focus on writing thesis papers and textbooks for their supervisors in order to get a higher position and salary. On the other hand, teachers who focus on teaching their students tend to get nothing much in return. The system is unfair. We need to change it. Teaching must be the priority in the consideration of teachers’ merits and teachers who put in a high quality number of hours … must be properly rewarded.”
Teerakiat said the new rule would keep teachers in schools and ensure that those devoted to teaching are properly and fairly rewarded. It would also curb related issues such as thesis cheating for accreditation and the high annual budget used for assessment.
Surin’s Primary Educational Service Area Office 3 deputy director Saner Saenkham said the new rule was on the right track by having teachers’ career advancement based on their merits to benefit students, while curbing thesis cheating.
The new criteria would make teachers more alert and devoted to teaching, he said. It also gave school directors a role in assessing a teacher’s performance as both must sign an agreement for the accreditation.
“It will naturally let school directors, school committees, parents and the community see what a teacher has done and how that benefits the children,” he said.
Nakhon Pathom’s Ban Tha Talad School teacher Pittaya Peerawuthhipan, who has attained the “Teacher of Special Expertise” level, said many teachers were worried as they had applied for accreditation under the old criteria. She urged the authority to provide a clear explanation about the new rules as some conditions required interpretation.
The new criteria for four teacher accreditation levels have many qualifications, including a different amount of class-teaching hours. Those applying for “Teacher of Special Expertise” level must have taught at least 800 hours a year.