All schools in Thailand’s southernmost provinces reopen normally


YALA, Dec 17 — All schools in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala as well as four districts of Songkhla reopen normally amid tight security and worry on the part of teachers who have a heightened sense of having become prime targets for attack.

The Malaysian border provinces have been the scene or a renewed low-level insurgency since 1994.

In Yala, schools that closed December 13-14 by resolution of the Federation of Teachers in Three Southern Provinces have reopened, while joint military and police operations are providing security around the clock.

The security measures now cover school premises as well as outside, at the demand of the teachers federation to foster confidence among educators who work in the violence plagued southern border provinces.

Meanwhile, 125 schools in four border districts of Songkhla — Chana, Thepha, Na Thawi and Saba Yoi — are also reopened as students and teachers came to school in the early morning.

The schools were closed Thursday and Friday to permit security agencies to assess their operations in providing teacher protection, after two teachers were killed when insurgents invaded a school lunchroom at Baan Bango School in Mayo district on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra made an inspection trip to Pattani on Thursday and listened to concerns of educators from several southern provinces. Teachers demanded better security measures following the murder of several of their colleagues and local residents in the past few weeks.

Ms Yingluck promised to provide them full welfare, risk and rehabilitation payments.