Jurin wants school closure policy review

Democrat Party list-MP Jurin Laksanavisit says the government's focus is too narrow in its push to close small schools, and is urging a policy review.

Education Minister Phongthep Thepkanchana was concentrating too much on management problems faced by small schools, Mr Jurin, who is also a former education minister, said yesterday.

Instead, the minister must consider other factors including the geography of schools and the communities they serve, Mr Jurin said.

Mr Phongthep on Wednesday told a meeting of education area directors they were required to implement the ministry's plan to close about 17,000 small schools and merge them with larger ones nearby.

A campaign against the school closure policy is gaining momentum, with an online petition already drawing several thousand signatures.

Alternative Education Council (AEC) secretary-general Chatchawan Thongdeelert said parents would be burdened financially if their children had to travel further to get to school.

The AEC is organising the protest campaign against the merger policy.

Tul Pinkaew, campaign director of Change.org, which is hosting the online anti-merger petition, said about 5,000 signatures had been recorded within 24 hours of its launch.

The Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) yesterday stressed that not all small primary schools would be affected by the school closure policy.

Obec secretary-general Chinnapat Bhumirat said his commission would consider various factors before deciding to close down a small school.

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