The recently declared pandemic has brought to light the terrible situation that exists regarding health insurance for teachers working in Thailand.
Many schools and agencies provide only the most basic accident cover. Those that do provide some sort of health insurance, generally only issue very basic cover with daily limits that severely restrict the sorts of things that can be claimed for.
This is not a situation that is simply confined to agencies and low end of the market jobs, such as government schools but also one that affects many so-called ‘international’ schools. Many of these schools require professionals who have education-related qualifications to fill their roles. I don’t believe that it’s unreasonable to expect decent medical cover.
Some may argue that it’s the teacher’s responsibility to provide cover for themselves. However, salaries are already very low in Thailand for teachers and the cost of living has risen sharply over the last 5 years. Additionally, lots of schools and agencies are only providing their staff with 9-10-month contracts and decent health cover could amount to more than a month’s wage for many.
It is fair to say that the government should probably provide some sort of cover for foreign teachers who work here legally. However, recent comments made by the health minister are indicative of the contempt in which Westerners are held by this current regime.
Even without the outbreak of Covid-19, Thailand now has some of the worst air pollution in the world and some of the deadliest roads.
Ultimately, when making a decision about where to teach, one should consider the level of health cover being provided by an employer. If you find yourself in a contract that does not provide adequate cover and you don’t feel safe, now might be a good time to consider your options.
When this pandemic comes to an end, there will be a plethora of schools and agencies across the region looking for teachers. Make sure that you put your own well-being first and when looking for a new job in the future, you chose a nation and school that takes good care of their staff.