11 July 2024

Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon said today the upcoming general election scheduled for Feb 24 next year cannot not be postponed, but the national pre-university tests for students will have to be rescheduled to allow young voters to go to the polls.

He was responding to growing concerns that more than 6 million students who are first-time voters and several tens of thousands of teaching staff members will be deprived of the opportunity to cast the ballots.

The National Institute of Education Testing Service (Niets) is seeking talks with agencies concerned to find a way out if the general election is to be held on Feb 24 next year, which coincides with the date of the General Aptitude Test (GAT) and the Professional & Academic Aptitude Test (PAT), already scheduled for Feb 23-26.

Learning from a news conference on Aug 22 by the Council of University Presidents of Thailand that the GAT and PAT tests would be held during Feb 23-26 and from the media that the poll would be conducted on Feb 24, the Niets said it then wrote to the Election Commission (EC) on Aug 23 to inform the poll regulator about the time frame of the tests so the EC would take that into account when considering the poll date.

The EC replied to the Niets’ latter on Sept 13, saying Feb 24 was set only for its own administrative reasons and the actual date will be determined by those in power.

The Education Ministry will have to consider postponing the test date of the GAT and the PAT because the election date won’t be postponed, said Gen Prawit.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said he understood that it would be more likely to postpone the dates of the GAT and the PAT than to change the election date.