After reading the article entitled “What is going on at the MofE in Thailand?’, I felt compelled to say something.
As someone who has visited Thailand on numerous occasions, I recently made a drastic career change and qualified to teach English as a foreign language. I am currently teaching and living with my wife in China. Although it has always been my intention to teach in Thailand, I wanted the opportunity to experience life in another part of Asia first. My wife is also Thai so I guess teaching in Thailand was also inevitable. When I first read some months ago about the Thai governments wish to improve the quality of its foreign teachers and therefore the quality of the teaching, it sounded like a fair and logical idea. However, the new legislation outlined in your article appears to have been cobbled together as one, to address some very separate issues.
For a start, the checks proposed will confirm a teachers experience, qualifications etc. but this in itself will not prevent similar incidents such as the John Karr one unless we are to believe that qualified teachers cannot also be paedophiles. There appears to be no mention of confirming background/ police checks/ or even references. A school can for example receive confirmation that a teacher has taught at a school in their native country but if they do not ask the right questions, like for example if the teacher left or was dismissed, they are not going to get the full picture.
Whilst I can understand the govt. ensuring the level of qualifications for state schools, why must they interfere in the private sector? If a school wishes to advertise that all its teaching staff are degree educated and charge more for that, so be it. Conversely, if a school does not insist on this level and therefore charges students less, let the consumer decide. I can only imagine that many language schools are going to go out of business overnight as teachers unable to provide the necessary documentation are let go. And new teachers are reluctant to teach in Thailand even with the right qualifications after hearing some of the stories of bureaucracy and red tape causing so many unnecessary problems.
I hope that when the dust settles, the govt. can find some middle ground that will protect the students as they should, raise standards as they should, but will also allow genuine teachers with a genuine vocation like myself to teach in their beautiful country.