The Equitable Education Fund (EEF) says the COVID-19 pandemic is making schooling less affordable for parents across Thailand.
The EEF revealed that 1.8 million students, mostly in primary and high schools, passed criteria to obtain financial assistance or scholarships from the fund in the first term which opened at the start of the year.
The number of those qualified for assistance and scholarships was up around 300,000 from the same period last year when 1.5 million students were granted help, according to Chaiyut Panyasawasdisut, head of the EEF’s project to develop a system to manage resources for students’ health and education.
Mr Panyasawasdisut said the increase showed education was becoming less affordable to families with the pandemic squeezing incomes and putting many out of jobs.
Mr Panyasawasdisut said those qualified for aid and scholarships must come from families with a combined monthly income of 3,000 baht or less. Other factors include whether the families are financially dependent, own secure housing, or if they have to care for family members with chronic illnesses.
“The numbers mean COVID-19 has exposed more families to economic hardship,” he said. “What is worrying here is that educational discrepancies will worsen.”
Mr Panyasawasdisut said the cost of education is also increasing with transport accounting for the largest portion of education-related expenses.