After a Bangkok-based children’s school announced the closing of its institute with only 14 days’ notice being given, a group of parents at the private school in On Nut district have protested to Montol Parksuwan, secretary of the Private Education Commission office (OPEC).
Parents had insufficient time to choose a new school for their children, due to the abrupt shutdown of the unnamed school. They also had to raise around 10,000 to 30,000 baht for brand-new student uniforms, educational materials, along with before-and-after school activities, etc.
The private school has continued to lose students since the epidemic started, according to Suppasait Kanakul, head of the Association for the Coordination and Promotion of Private Education (APPE).
While things are improving and many schools are beginning to rebound, a number of private schools in Bangkok continue to struggle with high costs and a large backlog of unpaid bills from parents. The association head went on to say that this situation could compromise the business.
Suppasait revealed the findings from a survey: many parents owe schools large amounts of money, and the total sum adds up to between 2 and 3 billion baht (56 to 85 million US dollars). All of the schools involved have made attempts to settle the matters.
It has transpired that some schools permit parents to pay only half of the tuition, while other institutions have chosen not to impose fees. This scenario can impact on education, since teachers may not be given enough income. To stay afloat, some schools must take out loans.
Even though it is possible for private schools to ask for up to 3 million baht in assistance from OPEC’s funds, some of the schools have unfortunately failed to meet the loan requirements.
“The government provides no assistance to private schools. We requested that the government fully subsidise the cost of school lunches, but our request was never granted. A foreign student enrolled in a public school, however, receives a lunch budget that is completely supported. What has the government accomplished for a private school in the previous four years? I want to see the incoming administration make an effort to value the contribution private schools may make to the country’s educational system.” Suppasait commented.