120,000 children absent from class after Covid: Ministry of Education

The reopening of schools in Thailand last week revealed a large number of children missing from class.

“We estimate that up to 120,000 children have left school during Covid-19 and are unable to continue their education after the closures are lifted due to family issues and other factors,” the minister said on Saturday. Education, Trinuch Thienthong.

She said her ministry was working with related agencies, including the police, to bring as many dropouts back to school as possible.

“So far, we have contacted about 95,000 children and hope to convince them to return to school by June to continue their education,” she added.

The ministry is also working with the Vocational Education Commission to provide free boarding and tuition to rural students in 88 vocational schools nationwide. The program, which aims to reduce the school dropout rate, serves 5,000 students a year.

Meanwhile, to prevent dropouts due to problems at school, the ministry has set up the MOE Safety Center Hotline which can be reached by phone and social media apps like Line.

“Parents and students can use these channels to directly alert the ministry to issues in schools such as bullying, harassment or other safety issues, and officials will promptly investigate,” Trinuch said.