11 July 2024

Eight secondary schools in the north-eastern province of Khon Kaen are under investigation by officials from the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC,) for allegedly demanding “tea money” of up to 100,000 baht from parents of students who fail the entrance examination.

Thirat Bangpetch, acting director of the NACC’s office in Khon Kaen, told Thai PBS that they have received complaints from several parents about the alleged corruption by some decision-making figures in the eight high schools.

He said the NACC also conducted it an independent probe and found there are grounds to believe that bribes were demanded from parents of students who failed entrance examinations or were put on the reservist list for each of the eight schools.

An audio clip of conversations between two parents on March 27th was presented to Thai PBS reporters. The transcript (translated from Thai) is as follows:

First parent:  “Did they ask for 100,000 baht?”

Second parent:  “Yes, 100,000 baht.”

First parent:  “Did they demand that the payment be made by 4pm?”

Second parent:  “Yes, not later than 4pm, otherwise the amount will be increased to 200,000 baht.”

First parent:  “They said, if we had paid 60,000 baht in down payment before the exam, we would definitely have been allowed to study at the school.”

Second parent:  “But I told them I would prefer to have my boy to try his best and, if he is put on the reservist list, we just wait for the school to summon him.”

First parent:  “Did they say there is no waiting?”

Second parent:  “They said, for those who are on the reservist list and those who failed the exam, anyone who pays 100,000 baht will be enrolled.”

Thirat said that the schools must clearly declare how many vacant seats there are, how many applicants and how many pass the entrance exam, because many parents don’t know how many vacant places there are in a school or how their children scored in the exam.

He said he has asked for all documentation related to the exam from the administrators of the eight schools. Some of them refused to comply, claiming that they are not ready yet.