OBEC: “No small schools will be closed down this year”

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BANGKOK, 30 May 2013 The Office of Basic Education Commission (OBEC) has affirmed that the Education Ministry will not be closing down any small schools, at least for this year. 

OBEC Secretary-General Chinnapat Bhumirat said on Thursday that a report on nationwide schools under OBEC supervision with fewer than 60 students is being compiled for Education Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana to review.

Mr. Chinnapat stated that, to date, reports from 179 out of 182 districts where small OBEC-controlled schools are located, have been obtained. Among them, there are only three districts, where schools with no student, confirmed in the reports.

He elaborated that the Education Ministry plan to turn such schools into new facilities for the use of the community, such as a child development center or an informal education center.

For schools with fewer than 60 students, Mr. Chinnapat said about 3,500 of such schools have been identified throughout the country, with 2,290 of them already gone through an internal merger process, which saw their classes or lessons combined.

In addition, there are around 300 small schools located on the mountain or the islands, which OBEC could not suggest any change or internal merge.

Nevertheless, Mr. Chinnapat affirmed that no schools will be shut down this year as the OBEC will need to discuss the issue with the Prime Minister and the Education Minister before a conclusion is derived.