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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Education Ministry Plans Major Curriculum Overhaul, Reduce School Hours

The Ministry of Education is set to initiate a comprehensive overhaul of the core curriculum, aimed at reducing school hours and promoting non-classroom learning. This effort, spearheaded by the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec), seeks to modernize the country’s basic education framework, which has been in place since 2008.

Obec has requested the ministry to establish a panel to oversee the extensive revision of the curriculum, according to Obec Secretary-General Thanu Wongjinda. This revamp aims to update individual courses to align with global changes, incorporating more technology-aided subjects.

The proposed changes signify a significant advancement in the nation’s educational landscape. If approved, the panel will promptly begin detailed evaluations of each subject to identify areas for improvement. A primary focus of the revision is to reduce the number of study hours, addressing research findings that indicate Thai students experience some of the longest school hours globally.

Currently, students in Pathom 1-6 (grades one to six) undergo no less than 1,000 hours of compulsory and supplementary subjects along with developmental activities per academic year. For Mathayom 1-3 (grades seven to nine), the hours increase to at least 1,200 per year. Mathayom 4-6 students (grades 10-12) spend over 3,600 hours in classes over three years.

“It only makes sense to try and scale back study hours,” Mr. Thanu emphasized. The revision committee will welcome input from educators, students, parents, textbook publishers, and related sectors for the planned overhaul.

In a related development, Deputy Education Minister Surasak Phancharoenworakul voiced concerns over a budget cut for the ministry’s ‘Learning Anywhere Anytime’ project, which primarily uses online learning platforms for Mathayom 4-6 students. Initially proposed at 7.6 billion baht for the next fiscal year, the budget was reduced to 4.1 billion baht during scrutiny, which the deputy minister warned could undermine the project’s overall effectiveness.

The attendance at the announcement included several officials and education stakeholders, underscoring the broad interest and potential impact of the proposed curriculum changes.

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