BANGKOK, 12 June 2015 – The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has inquired into the quality of the government’s assessment of teachers and schools.
NLA member Wallop Tangkananurak inquired into the effectiveness of the government’s education assessment agency, the Office of Nation Education Standards and Quality Assessment (ONESQA). Mr Wallop expressed concern that the standardized system could impede lesson plans, due to the sheer amount of paperwork required. He also questioned whether the centralized assessment standards would be applicable to the diverse conditions of schools across the country.
Mr Wallop has asked what the current administration had in mind for the ONESQA. Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Yuthavong revealed that the government cannot abolish the ONESQA, a key component of the Education Act (1999), nor is there currently a suitable and unbiased agency to replace it. Regarding the paperwork burden on schools, Mr Yongyuth said the government has made the transition to online assessment methods. However, many schools are still having trouble acquiring the necessary technology.
Minister of Education Admiral Narong Pipatanasai admitted that the ONESQA assessment standards do not accommodate the diversity of schools across the country. Its implementation has underperformed, resulting in minimal feedback for improvement.
The ministry has stepped in to expedite the adoption of online assessment methods across the country and will work closely with ONESQA in data collection and analysis. It will also continue to send officials to remote areas that are beyond internet coverage.
Meanwhile, additional changes to education policy include a mandate to curb school activities to no more than ten percent of total school days and to rate teachers based on the academic performance of their pupils. Adm Narong assured the NLA that the ministry will report its progress at next year’s inquiry.