Schools placed on 'shutdown' alert

The Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) has asked three educational service area offices in Bangkok to prepare for a mass rally by anti-government groups.

The three offices are the Primary Educational Service Area Office and Secondary Educational Service Area Offices 1 and 2.

The People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) plans to rally across the capital from Sunday to Wednesday, inviting people to join the planned shutdown of Bangkok on Jan 13. The shutdown aims to pressure the caretaker government of Yingluck Shinawatra to step down.

PDRC secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban expects to block roads in 20 locations and set up 20 stages, mainly in commercial zones.

Kamol Rodklai, deputy secretary-general of Obec, said that directors from three educational service area offices responsible for primary and secondary schools in Bangkok need to quickly develop a plan of action to ensure student safety during the political rallies.

"School directors have the power to order a temporary school shutdown if the anti-government rally becomes unsafe for students, teachers and school staff. Emergency exits, a list of parent's names and an emergency plan should be prepared first," he said.

A school can close if it is affected by a natural disaster; wants to organise occasional activities; or a riot or protest has an impact on the school. However, a school shutdown cannot last for more than seven days.

Plans must include catch-up classes for students if a school decides to close.

"I think the situation won't become severe as protesters will not let education be affected. They are aware that Mathayom 6 students have to take seven very important examinations on Saturday and Sunday [Jan 11 and 12]," he said.

Results of the seven examinations will be used for admission to university.

Channarong Kaewlek, director of Wat Bowonniwet School on Phra Sumen Road, said school directors whose schools were located next to the anti-government rallies have monitored the situation and discussed safety measures.

"For the next rallies across the capital and the planned shutdown of Bangkok, we have to wait for the rally leaders' announcement on which roads will be blocked. I think they will rally in the heart of Bangkok which is quite far from the school," he said.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 03/01/2014 at 07:47 AM
Who in the PDRC thinks about the welfare of children as a major priority? Mr. Suthep? I have not heard him talk about this issue in his various rantings.

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