Shorter school day all the rage

BANGKOK: — Nearly 4,000 schools across the country yesterday went ahead with a new policy that allows their students to spend fewer hours in the classroom.

In response to the policy of “Moderate Class, More Knowledge”, students started various activities at either 2pm or 2.30pm based on their interests outside the classroom.

Their schools prepared music, sports, literature, debating and community activities for their head-heart-hand development.

“There will be more practice time for students,” said Karoon Sakulpradit, secretary-general of the Office of Basic Education Commission.

According to him, outside-classroom activities cover IT, life and occupational skills, morality, and love for Thailand, religion and the monarchy.

During the pivotal phase, 3,831 schools across the country started implementing the policy yesterday. Implementation results will be evaluated on a monthly basis before the policy is adopted nationwide.

“We will check if the policy allows students to learn more about other children, older or younger, at the same schools, and if they can demonstrate more of their potential and acquire greater ability in the subjects of their interest,” Karoon said.

He said the evaluation would also focus on the happiness of the students, parents and teachers.

Tuanjai Wuskasem, assistant director of the Bangkok-based Phyathai School, said her school had joined the pivotal phase and prepared a wide range of activities.

“We have singing and dancing, swimming, cooking, farming and even drama watching,” she said. Her school teaches about 2,000 children.

Songkiat Thepprasane, deputy director of Triam Udom Suksa School, said his school had prepared more than 30 activities for students to take part in after 2.30pm.

“The range covers arts, sports, languages and short-film making activities,” he said. “We also welcome more ideas and opinions from our students as to what else we should arrange for them”.

More than 4,500 children have studied at this prestigious senior-secondary school.

Triam Udom Suksa School offers students the option of leaving school at 2.30pm if their parents pick them up so they can participate in the same kind of activities elsewhere.

Songkiat said about 60 per cent of his school’s students opted for outside-classroom activities that contained academic material such as languages.

“I believe this is because these students feel they have to prepare themselves for university admission,” he said.

Government Spokesman Maj General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the new policy to slash class hours had received a warm welcome from schools, teachers, students and parents.

He said Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha was satisfied with the feedback and pointed out that fewer class hours should mean students had more time to analyse issues and discuss various topics with their peers as well as their teachers.