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Thai parents worry about school costs

Rising demands for 'tea money' and kids' circle of friends also a concern

Publication Date : 27-04-2012

 

Parents are having to pay more for their children’s student uniforms, meals, transportation and textbooks, while some also have to pay "tea money" of as much as 400,000 baht (US$12,970), according to an ABAC Poll released yesterday.

Puntaree Issarangkul Na Ayudhaya, assistant director of Assumption University's ABAC Poll, said yesterday that 1,214 parents were surveyed on their concerns about their children's first semester this academic year. The poll, conducted from April 17 through Wednesday, found that 69.4 per cent admitted to being worried about their kids' schooling expenses this term.

Concern over who their kids were friends with was the top overall concern, held by 51.1 per cent of parents, followed by drug abuse (50.3 per cent) and school expenses (47.8 per cent). Following these in descending order were: children assembling for unlawful/inappropriate purposes; superfluous spending by children; children getting caught in traffic jams; substandard education; and children's problems fitting in.

Parents on average prepared about 40,000 baht ($1,297) to cover tuition fees, tutoring course fees and tea money. Those with kids in private schools prepared about 50,000 baht ($1,621), while those with kids at state-run schools prepared about 35,000 baht ($973), Puntaree said.

The poll also found that among worries over school expenses, uniforms ranked top at 77.8 per cent, followed by meals and fares (77.3 per cent), and textbooks, stationery and tools (68 per cent). Other expenses included tuition fees, extra-curricular activity fees, school maintenance fees and tea money, and dormitory expenses, in that order.

Research showed that some parents who wanted to put their kids in a new school had to pay "tea money" of up to 400,000 baht. Parents believed that the 15-year free education policy helped shoulder some of their burden, but not much, Puntaree said.

Meanwhile, Bamnej Thip-aksorn, deputy secretary-general of the Office of the Welfare Promotion Commission for Teachers and Education Personnel, said his office's business organisation had not raised the price of textbooks and school uniforms.

"We are aware of parents' financial concerns," he said.

He encouraged schools to buy textbooks directly from the organisation, because these items were of good quality and endorsed by the Office of the Basic Education Commission, as well as the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology.

 

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