Drastic plan to close technical schools to end student violence not viable: academics

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national September 08, 2017 01:00

By THE NATION

A DRASTIC proposal to close Bangkok’s Pathumwan Institute of Technology and Rajamangala University of Technology’s Uthen Thawai to end decades of violence between students was not a viable solution, academics have said.

If the proposal were adopted, the schools would not enrol new students in the 2018 academic year, to prepare for the closure of the two schools in four years.

Pathumwan rector’s adviser Suebpong Muangchoo said the suggested closure would not solve the problem, which was based on a conflict between some “rogue” students and should be handled by police and related officials.

He said there were many other ways to solve the issue, such as adjusting curricula, so both schools’ students could engage in activities outside campus that respond to the labour market and the country’s needs.

Uthen Thawai campus committee member Piyawat Sanpanon also said the proposal was not a good solution because there were more good students than bad ones and the institute was trying to address the issue of violence and develop educational quality.

National Legislative Assembly member Somchai Sawangkarn said the two schools could instil good values in students and adjust class activities to let students from both schools get to know each other and study together.

The proposal to solve the decades-old violence was submitted early last month by former Chart Thai Pattana MP Lieutenant Prapas Limprapan to Deputy Education Minister Panadda Diskul.

Besides calling for both institutes to stop student recruitment in the upcoming academic year, the proposal also urged lecturers and personnel to move to other institutes that were in need of staff.

The two institutes’ location in downtown Bangkok could be capitalised upon to benefit society and remove bad memories involving the two schools’ history, the proposal said. The Uthen Thawai buildings could be returned to Chulalongkorn University, while Pathumwan’s buildings could be used for the expansion of a girls’ school, the proposal suggested.

Office of Higher Education Commission chief Supat Jampathong on August 24 passed the proposal to the two institutes’ councils, which are authorised to decide on implementing such changes.

The student brawls, which often take place in the downtown area and involve weapons such as guns, knives and small explosives, have led to the deaths and injuries of students as well as innocent bystanders while affecting public safety and the country’s reputation.

The latest brawl between students from the two schools occurred on the National Stadium skytrain station’s elevated bridge on August 1 and led to two Uthen Thawai students being stabbed. One of the students was killed.

 

Source  :  The Nation Multimedia