Thai students to spend less time in class

In the upcoming semester, the number of class hours will be significantly reduced at nearly 3,000 schools across the country.

A total of 2,948 schools have registered for the pivotal phase of the initiative to push down class hours so that students have more time to pick up other skills outside the classroom.

"This initiative applies to both primary and secondary schools," Education Minister General Dapong Ratanasuwan said this week.

Currently, schools require their primary students to attend between 1,200 and 1,400 class hours a year, or between 30 and 35 hours a week.

The moves are based on a guideline that class hours for primary students should be no less than 1,000 a year. As for secondary students, they must now attend about 1,400 class hours a year or about 35 hours a week based on the guideline that their class hours should be no fewer than 1,200 a year.

The new initiative, however, prescribes that the class hours must be fewer than 1,000 a year for primary students and fewer than 1,200 a year for secondary students.

"The initiative aims to ensure primary students have between eight and 13 hours a week, and secondary students eight hours a week to pick up some other skills outside the classroom," Dapong said.

He was speaking after the Cabinet approved the initiative.

Activities outside the classroom will be prepared for students so they enjoy a boost to their learning capabilities, good value/characteristics, life skills and occupational skills.

"The activities, for example, will cover communications, IT usage, public-mindedness and loyalty to the monarchy," Dapong said.

The education minister said the revised class hours would not affect the core content of the curriculum, the Ordinary National Educational Test (Onet), which is organised by the National Institute of Educational Testing Service, and national tests held by the Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec).

Dapong said Obec planned to organise workshops to help schools prepare themselves for the revised class hours.

"It will also form more than 300 teams of smart trainers for the purpose," he said.

Dapong added that his ministry would evaluate the results of the initiative twice during the second semester of this year or the upcoming semester.

"At the end of the semester, we will conduct another evaluation," he said.