Scheme offers dropouts fresh hope

Career training gives kids a second chance

Authorities are helping 23,000 dropouts return to school or get career training, to combat an education gap that is blighting the future of thousands of children.

Among those who have left school early are 13,263 kids who need "urgent help", Supakorn Buasai, manager of the state-run Equitable Education Fund, said on Wednesday.

The teachers who identified these underprivileged dropouts found that not all were forced to leave school by poverty. Some left school early because of family problems, while others simply did not want to attend class, or had suffered health problems.

"Most of them need rehabilitation before pursuing studies or career training," Mr Supakorn said.

They will be given 4,000 baht each, which they can use to pay for tuition fees, and kept under close supervision to prevent a recurrence of the problems.

Homeless children were a particular concern, Mr Supakorn said.

Officials do not want to see them drop out of school as "it's very difficult to help them", he added.

These kids need schooling and career training to stand on their own feet and help the country develop, officials say.

"Many children have the potential to be good at learning," said Prasert Sukchit, chairman of Tambon Leeng Administration Organisation in Surin's Chom Phra district. "We need to give them opportunities and draw out their power."

Surin is among 20 provinces the government is turning into a model for equal access to education. The others are Chiang Mai, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phrae, Sukhothai, Phitsanulok, Phuket, Songkhla, Surat Thani, Yala, Khon Kaen, Amnat Charoen, Maha Sarakham, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Nayok, Rayong and Kanchanaburi.

Teenager "An" is among ex-students who are receiving financial assistance from the fund.

The need to help his family earn a living as well as to care for his siblings and bedridden grandfather forced him out of education three years ago, after he graduated high school with a GPA of 3.2. But now he is back in class.

"I'm very happy to be able to resume my studies," said the young man, who has enrolled in part-time courses provided by the Office of Non-Formal and Informal Education. He now has ambitions to become a fashion designer.

Another boy, "Big", said he spent five years out of school because, "I don't like learning in classrooms."

But after talking with a teacher about career development, he changed his mind.

He now wants to gain new skills so he can achieve his dream of running a chicken farm.



Sources :

Bureau of Information and Communication Technology Office of the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education E-Mail :