170,000 Students at Risk of Dropping Out Due to COVID-19 Situation

Thai Students

More than 170,000 students are suffering from lack of household income as their parents are affected by job losses and business downturns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Equitable Education Fund.

Kraiyos Patrawart, deputy managing director of the fund, said the number of impoverished students this school semester is about 1.7 million, or an increase of about 170,000 when compared with before the pandemic.

The income of some families has fallen from 1,205 baht to 1,077 baht per family, or 36 baht per day.

About 73% of those surveyed, aged 15-65, are unemployed. Before the pandemic, the employment rate of low-income families was 44%.

The fund is a government agency which helps students from destitute backgrounds continue their education. The fund has provided money and assistance to these students.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted us to increase the amount of financial assistance given to parents,” Mr Patrawart said.

“Without help, we will see more students being affected or even forced to leave schools under this economic situation.”

The fund has agreed to subsidise costs for more students, from 761,729 to 1,067,029 students in the next fiscal year.

These include nursing students in schools under the Office of the Basic Education Commission, students under the Department of Local Administration and Border Patrol Police.

The 170,000 students affected by COVID-19 will also receive subsidies.

Mr Patrawart said that with financial help, the attendance rate of impoverished students in schools is likely to rise from 69.4% to 89.4%.

In other news, Natapanu Nopakun, deputy spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said it is ready to follow strict immigration protocols to receive foreign visitors to keep everybody safe from COVID-19.

He said the immigration process will need additional health documents before foreigners are allowed to enter the kingdom.

These documents include entry, medical and fit-to-fly certificates. They will also be required to lodge a criminal background report.

The ministry will coordinate with other state agencies, such as the health and defence ministries, to manage incoming visitors.