Recently, critics have questioned the content of a Thai-language textbook for grade 5 students, claiming that the book appears to accept malnutrition among young children. However, the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) has responded that the critics have misinterpreted the material.
Obec Secretary-General Amporn Pinasa explained that the section in question is in the ninth chapter of the “Pasa Patee” textbook, which focuses on the value of life. In this chapter, an orphaned schoolgirl, Khaopoon, takes her classmate, Yaibua, to her orphanage, where the children live happily and are well-taught, despite having limited food choices – rice, half a boiled egg, and fish sauce.
The purpose of the story is actually to teach children that happiness in life is based on having a happy mind, not material possessions. Critics who solely emphasize the low-quality meals or inequality issues are misunderstanding the book’s objective, Amporn said.
Furthermore, Amporn emphasized that the story about the orphans’ meal in the book is fictional. Critics might misread the book if they focus only on one section rather than considering the content as a whole. In reality, the Education Ministry has policies in place to ensure that children receive proper nutrition, particularly at school.
Amporn also highlighted that the Obec had relevant experts from various universities and well-recognized educational institutions carefully review the content of the Pasa Patee Thai-language textbooks before publication. These experts are knowledgeable in Thai language and literature and were selected to ensure the quality and appropriateness of the material.
In conclusion, the Office of the Basic Education Commission has defended the content of the Thai-language textbook for grade 5 students, stating that critics have misjudged the material by focusing on a single aspect rather than considering the overall message. The textbook’s goal is to teach students the importance of having a happy mind and not relying on material possessions to find happiness. Additionally, the story about the orphans’ meal is fictional, and real-life policies are in place to ensure that children receive proper nutrition at school.