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Remote learning to remain in Thailand if virus persists

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A student takes part in an online learning trial to ready students for returning to school. Bangkok Post

BANGKOK (Bangkok Post) – Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday advised the country to be fully prepared to implement remote-learning measures if the COVID-19 situation does not improve.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting yesterday during a media briefing, the prime minister said distance-learning could be implemented for students at the secondary school level and above if the pandemic persists.

He said students would then have to tune into education channels via satellite, cable and the 15 iPTV channels.

The premier said the government is planning to reopen schools once the pandemic situation improves. However, schools are required to maintain social-distancing practices and have an emergency plan should COVID-19 get worse, he added.

Prayut said emergency plans for the coronavitus must be approved by local officials who work under the Education and Public Health ministries.

The cabinet yesterday decided not to delay the new school semester on July 1. It said the new semester is on track to end on May 16, 2021.

Graduation plans must be approved by April 9, 2021, but the cabinet agreed that it could be extended to May 15.

“It depends on schools and how they manage their time, using appropriate methods to make up for time lost during the pandemic,” Prayut said.

He noted that plans to continue distance learning must include timetables to be counted as school hours.

Also, government spokesperson Narumon Pinyosinwat said the Office of the Basic Education Commission has allocated a budget to give students money for food.

She said it will cover kindergarten and basic education level students. Those in boarding schools will receive 90 baht at least twice per month while students who live at home will receive 30 baht at least twice per month.

Narumon said similar rates will be given weekly to disabled and underprivileged students who learn online.

Civil servant teachers and education personnel who teach students at home before the beginning of the 2020 semester will be given special payments from the government to cover their expenses.

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