‘Teachers Ready’: Thailand attempts to kick-start education after COVID shutdown
Hit by a third wave of COVID-19 infections, Thailand’s education authorities have been forced to postpone the reopening of schools from May 17 to June 1. However, in a move to minimize the impact on children’s schooling, the Education Ministry on Monday (May 17) launched the online platform www.ครูพร้อม.com (Kru Prom or Teachers Ready).
Both students and teachers are being urged to log on so they can prepare for the upcoming semester.
What does Kru Prom offer?
The portal features content under six categories: Wanna Learn, Wanna Know, Wanna Teach, Wanna Do, Wanna Watch, and Wanna Share. Choose a category and you can then explore topics based on your interest.
The Wanna Learn page, for instance, has more than 100 choices. Young students get picture books, while older children can view video clips teaching them everything from consumers’ rights to foreign languages. Students can quickly decide whether a topic is suitable by checking the label for its target group – early childhood, primary or secondary. Labels also show which academic subject is covered.
The Wanna Know page, meanwhile, offers e-books to help boost teachers’ skills.
When to use it?
Students and teachers have been advised to check out Kru Prom between May 17 and 31. The aim is to help youngsters get up to speed and for teachers to absorb new ideas for their lessons.
Both teachers and students can continue using the platform to complement lessons after schools reopen on June 1.
Who created it?
In charge of compiling content for the platform were the Basic Education Commission, Vocational Education Commission, Private Education Commission and Office of Non-Formal and Informal Education, aided by private organizations who made contributions free of charge. All content was vetted by a screening committee.
Is using Kru Prom mandatory?
The Education Ministry does not require students or teachers to use Kru Prom, saying it is just an alternative for those interested in learning more. Also, time students spend on Kru Prom will not be counted as class hours.
Similarly, teachers are not expected to compile any reports on Kru Prom and it will not be part of their performance evaluation.
Education Minister Treenuch Thienthong said the website won thousands of hits on its first day and expects users to rise further. There are currently more than 7.3 million students in Thailand.
Prominent education academic Athapol Anunthavorasakul, however, is not impressed. He said children should be allowed to play during the school break, even if it’s extended. He also said that the authorities should realize that students are already drained by the online/offline teaching methods employed since the arrival of COVID-19 early last year and worried about the latest outbreak.
“At most, schools should just tell students in advance that they will have to share what they have learned over the extended break with their classmates,” he said.
He also advised schools to hold online meetings for teachers to review and reflect on what they have learned over the past year when classes were forced to go online, on-air, on-screen, on-hand, on-site, and hybrid.
What happens in the new semester?
The Education Ministry expects classes to be conducted in any of the five formats: on-site (at schools), on air (distance-learning TV), on-demand (via various applications), online (internet-based learning), on-hand (with assignments being submitted), and hybrid (probably with the help of other media such as radio).
By Thai PBS World’s General Desk
Progressive learning is something very new, even alien to most people, especially in Asian countries which focus very much on test results and rankings. But even though it is a fairly new concept for many, more and more schools in Thailand are being founded on the concept of learning through play, child-centered education or Phenomenon-based learning, like in Finland.