Under new orders from the Office of Basic Education of Thailand (OBEC), criticism of the military junta is now banned in all Thai public schools.
The order, issued by the OBEC earlier this week, bans the dissemination of “provocative,” “violence-condoning,” or “false” information that could encourage students to disrespect laws or “oppose the mission of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).”
The new education guidelines also prohibit public school officials from participating in political protests or hosting any demonstrations or political seminars in their schools. Teachers are asked to encourage students and their families to avoid all political demonstrations as well.
According to the order, teachers must “cooperate with and support the mission of the NCPO in every level,” and teach lessons “that focus on the creation of reconciliation.”
The deputy secretary of the OBEC, Mr. Kamol Rordklai, said yesterday that he is also considering revising school textbooks to reinforce a sense of patriotism among schoolchildren in support of the NCPO’s reconciliation project.
“We will improve modules in history, citizen duty, and morality, in accordance with the NCPO’s policy, so that the children will know about unity and love for their country,” Mr. Kamol said.
BP: On the earlier part of the article, BP can confirm the translation of the order is correct. Is this the educational reform we have all been seeking?
On the latter part of the article, it is in line with Prayuth’s Friday speech to the nation per the MFA translation:
On cultural issues. We should help to reinforce the values of “Being Thai”, national pride, and upholding the institution of the monarchy. These values should be included in the school curriculum by the Ministry of Education.
On the development of teachers and education system, we should resume courses on history, civil duties, and morals into the current curriculum. The purpose is to instill discipline, strengthen the physical and mental state, and reinforce conscience and social responsibility. We need to encourage our citizens, children, government officials and all sectors to build a systemic way of thinking by not thinking only in the short term basis. One should complete what has been started. Think for the long term with focused and rational thinking. Do not believe in what others say but it must be proven. National interest must come first. The people in society should have a sense of generosity, sharing, not become a society of abusing and defaming each other. We have to compete with many countries. Tourism is the most important because it generates tremendous income for the country so we need to push forward.
BP: One wonders when the OBEC order will also be applied specifically to universities. So far we have anecdotal evidence of universities not allowing protests, but it will be interesting to see that exactly universities are ordered to do or tell their students and staff what to do. From universities providing active support to the PDRC to deliberately suppressing protests now, will this go further once the university term starts. Will this help encourage rational thinking?