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Prime Minister Launches Thailand Zero Dropout Initiative

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has raised alarm over the concerning number of Thai youths, aged 3-18, who have dropped out of school for various reasons. He has instructed all relevant agencies to address this issue as part of the national agenda under the “Thailand Zero Dropout” program.

Government spokesman Chai Wacharonke reported that during the cabinet meeting yesterday, four immediate measures were adopted to tackle the dropout crisis across all provinces.

The initial step involves identifying and locating the dropouts. Following this, individualized assistance and care will be provided to ensure these children can return to school. Chai emphasized that the education system for these youths must be adaptable to their specific needs and potential, aiming to facilitate their learning and development.

Subsequent steps include engaging the private sector to actively participate in educational management and developing the “learning to earn” system, which connects education with practical earning opportunities.

Sompong Chitradab, a notable educator and member of the Fund for Educational Equality Committee, highlighted that around one million Thai youths dropped out of secondary education last year, nearly double the number in previous years. He attributed this rise to poverty and various political and social issues.

He noted that parents often remove their children from school not solely due to financial constraints but also other economic, social, and political reasons. Sompong referred to a cooperation pact signed on June 28 between the Education Ministry and 11 agencies aimed at re-enrolling dropouts. He stressed that these agencies must move beyond agreements and take immediate action by locating these children, assessing their home situations, providing necessary welfare and educational funding, and assisting unemployed parents in finding jobs.

Sompong also criticized the previous Prayut administration for neglecting the dropout issue and stated that the educational system must be restructured to be more flexible and responsive to the needs of dropouts, which differ from those of regular students. He urged the Education Ministry to be open to greater involvement from the private sector and local organizations in educational management.

Officials and other stakeholders at the meeting included key representatives from various agencies, ensuring a collaborative approach to resolving the dropout crisis.

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