Extension of teachers’ retiring age under consideration

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BANGKOK, 27 Sep 2013, Both the government and private sectors have agreed on extending the retiring age of teachers from 60 to 65, as the nation is facing an ongoing issue of teacher shortage. 

The idea stemmed from a discussion at a recent seminar on “national education system and academic profession’s retirement” hosted by the Wisdom Society for Public Opinion Research of Thailand.

According to Mr. Surapon Ratanachai, Adviser on Education Management from the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, the ministry has developed the idea of prolonging the professional lifespan of teachers for another 5 years and is studying ways to legislate on the plan.

Secretary of the Federation of Teachers Association of Thailand, Prawit Buengsai, agreed with the notion while suggesting that the decision as to whether to continue teaching should be up to the teachers themselves. Mr. Prawit also said that, if the retiring age extension is materialized, the Government needs to clearly outline all the details in order to avoid confusion. He also raised concerns over the current authority given to school head masters in regard to teacher recruitment, saying the power has loophole that may be exploited for personal gain.

Meanwhile, a researcher from the Wisdom Society Nithipat Kamonsuk cited a report comparing Thailand’s readiness to cushion teachers under retirement with that of Singapore, pointing out that the latter provides abundant welfare measures for retired teachers. Singapore has set as the nation’s core perks to establish a retirement fund and promote employment of teachers until they reach 65.

Mr. Nithipat also suggested that careful studies and preparations are needed for Thailand if it extends the professional lifespan of teachers, adding that, in parallel, the nation should foster the development of a newer and better generation of academic professionals.