There seem to be a lot of rumors floating around these days about how the teacher licensing requirements set forth by The Teachers Council of Thailand have changed.
Some people seem to think that the 4-part exams are no longer a valid option or that they have been changed. Some people would like to know if teacher certification courses from outside Thailand, such as The Cambridge TKT, are acceptable in lieu of the approved one-year courses at places such as Assumption and Ramkhamheang.
One person, who emailed me, told me the story of how he sent all of his paperwork in to The TCT, including a Bachelors of Education, but received a letter back stating that his request for a teacher's license had been denied due to "lack of qualifications"!
So, with a lot of questions, a detailed printout of what courses are taught in The Cambridge TKT and copies of the same qualifications that the man who had been denied had sent to The TCT, I walked into The TCT.
Below is what I was told by Khun Teeranuch Saipanya, the personal assistant to The Secretary General of The Teachers Council and it was also confirmed by Khun Kedtida Kiensaard, Head of Professional Standards Assurance for The TCT.
1) Application Methodology:
There are still only three types of applicants and/or four ways to go about getting a teachers license, the details have not changed since February 2007. To see those details, you can click here:
2) The Cambridge TKT and similar courses:
The Cambridge TKT "may" be acceptable. According to all of the records that Khun Teeranuch and Khun Kedtida checked, so far no one has tried to apply for a teacher's license citing a diploma from The Cambridge TCT. If someone does apply, citing The Cambridge TKT as a qualification, then a precedent will be set. This of course applies for similar courses, certificates, etc. from other nations. Unless and until the transcripts and course descriptions have been given to The TCT, a decision cannot be made.
Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, The TCT itself can not make rulings as to which overseas academic institutions are acceptable or not. That duty falls to The Academic Accreditation and Comparisons Office. In Thai it is abbreviated as ก.พ.
There is a young lady from The Academic Accreditation and Comparisons Office attached to The Teachers Council. When foreign teachers apply for teachers licenses, she has the onerous and difficult task of verifying the authenticity of both the granting institution, the course content (based on transcripts and syllabi) and, by extension, the degree/certificate/diploma itself. Usually she is enough. If however, things get busy and she is overwhelmed, she calls an MOE courier who then takes the overflow to the main offices of The Academic Accreditation and Comparisons Office. There is also a satellite office on Chaeng Watthana whose help can be enlisted if things get really crazy.
I have two friends, a husband and a wife, who are both Fillipino and both possess a Masters of Education from The Phillipines. Their degrees are from Ataneo University, one of the best known universities in the country. When they applied, they were given a 6 month "temporary" license and were told that The TCT (really The Academic Accreditation and Comparisons Office) would take six months to verify their degrees. Now, eight months later, they have their teacher's licenses. Their degrees checked out.
Which brings us to our gentleman who was denied even though he possesses a Bachelors of Education.
3) Fake and/or Unaccredited Degrees:
At the main office, deep in the bowels of The MOE, there is a room which I jokingly refer to as "The Bat Cave" The reasons for this are twofold. First, I'm a Batman fanatic. I know that's off topic. But hey! This is my article. The second reason is that it is staffed by four young Thai men who only see the light of day on their lunch break and when they get off work. They all received Undergraduate and Masters Degree scholarships from The Thai Government and are now paying that off, working for The MOE. They all speak, read and write English fluently. More importantly, they all have dedicated phone and fax lines as well as super fast and reliable internet connections as well as the full official weight of The Royal Thai Ministry of Education behind them.
Why am I going off about this? Because that man who e-mailed me and was denied, based on "lack of qualifications" was denied because he had a "Lifetime Experience Degree", in Education, from Ashwood University. Now, I am not going to get into a debate about the pros, cons, validity or anything else of Lifetime Experience Degrees. Some ACCREDITED universities, such as masters Degrees from University of Leicester (for example) are real, accredited and will present NO problems to people who hold degrees from them. However, the young guys in The Batcave can find out if the degree you are presenting is from an internationally accredited academic institution or not! Even if they can't find it online, which is not a good sign, they can still write a government to government communication asking the Ministry of Education in that country for their full cooperation and assistance. My point is, if you have a degree from an academic institution that does not hold any international accreditation, for your own sake, do not present it to The TCT for approval towards receiving a teacher's license.
To see a list of the most well known Institutions of Higher Learning which DO NOT possess international (or even local) academic accreditation, click here... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unaccredited_institutions_of_higher_learning
If The TCT or The Academic Accreditation and Comparisons Office feel so inclined, they can report teachers who apply with fake and/or unaccredited degrees to The Royal Thai Police and I have yet to hear a happy ending to any story like that!
If any readers have any questions they would like me to ask directly to The Teacher's Council or have heard of any other rumors that they would like followed up on, just email me and I'll see what I can do. I'm at The MOE, on average two days a week.
So long and thanks for all the fish.