Ian McNamara

Mr T and the kids

(Dis) credit where it's due

News - it comes in many shapes and forms, especially here in Thailand where it often has it's own special twist. I use the adjective ‘special' in the same way as parents often claim that their amazingly screwed up or deranged kid is ‘special' as if this somehow excuses his often bizarre and usually psychotic actions.

Today's example, of what I'm sure my American friends would call ‘super' special news, comes from that infinite vein of humour, the Thai government.

" Students of more than 1,400 state schools will join a pilot project to implement a new curriculum starting in November. Under the new curriculum, students will spend more than half their time at school learning on their own outside the classroom."

Cool idea. Let the inmates run the asylum. Now, I'm sure that wouldn't be the case and that the government would be extra super specially careful when deciding which levels of students could be trusted to work on their own outside classrooms.

" Initially, only Prathom 1, Prathom 4, Mathayom 1 and Mathayom 4 students would join the program."

OK so maybe I'm just being Mr Negative again, but from personal experience your average P1 student has trouble picking their own nose let alone organising their own portfolio.

P4's aren't much better the only differences being that they spend their time picking each other's noses and then have enough nous to force their younger siblings to do their portfolio for them.

Male M1's have just discovered their dicks so forget about them producing anything worthwhile. Female M1's are too busy discussing the college students they ICQ'd with the previous night to do anything worthwhile on their own. You get the drift - M1 should be deleted from the curriculum, give ‘em all a year off to get used to their hormones. It's the educational equivalent of a 13th floor elevator button- it doesn't exist.

As for M4. The Pros - good idea, they should be at the age where they realize that the acquisition of knowledge is a good thing and can be beneficial in both the short and long term and, if the right kind of knowledge is acquired, it can be used to get chicks. The Cons - the gene that controls the desire to play football during 95% of waking hours seems to have run amok resulting in oblivion to anything that doesn't contain a reference to the Premier League.

"Their ways of life will change. They will no longer have to carry big and heavy schoolbags jampacked with textbooks."

Here's an idea - keep textbooks books in your locker at school. Pressuring students into bringing the correct books on a daily basis is inhumane and was banned by a global treaty several years ago. At least that's the impression most of the pupils of St Judas' Academy appear to have. Kids going to St Joseph's Convent will read the above and laugh - "Carrying school bags? Surely, that's why God created Isaan maids."

"They can learn about more things they want to and will spend less time sitting before blackboards."

Now they are just making it too easy for me. Do I really have to comment on this?

"They will not be given an F only because of multiple -choice test papers since their performance will be evaluated from all the work they have done,"

Imagine young Suchart's disappointment when despite his best efforts his semester's achievements of scoring 146 goals during the lunch break, getting dates with 12 girls via ICQ during computer class, reaching level 7 of Counterstrike whilst simultaneously studying in the Library, correctly filling in his name on the front of 6 out of 8 exercise books and consuming his your bodyweight in Kit Kats is only enough to get him a B+ under the new regime.

"Teachers have the freedom to set their own teaching schedules and to choose textbooks and educational materials."

Should be fun watching all the teachers in a school schedule their classes during the mornings so they can get off home early. This is before the shenanigans involving backhanders from numerous book publishers kicks in.

"Meanwhile, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, also the education minister, said he had instructed the department to make a review of the requirement for students to study eight subjects under the new curriculum. Mr Thaksin feared that eight subjects might be too heavy a workload for students and deprive them of free time to have fun and be with their families."

I'm with Mr T on this one. Eight subjects, eh? Human endurance has its limitations and having to lug 8 different textbooks to school is pushing things - even for the fittest Isaan maid. But seriously - Is there anything that he won't say or do to get votes? " Mom don't vote for those Democrats they make us work at school. Mr Thaksin buys us ice cream every day and doesn't give us homework."

Fast forward 6 months. "First the maid screwed up the offshore debt-equity swap and now this" commented Mr T during the hearing, glaring in the direction of his security guard who was sitting in the corner quietly supping his fifth Kratindaeng of the day, adding "It's almost worth doing it myself."


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