Imagine, if you will, a world where the noble role of teaching is not just about imparting wisdom, but also involves juggling a circus of non-core tasks, from dawn till dusk. That was the reality for countless teachers across the land, at least, until a revolutionary move by the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) set to redefine the contours of the teaching landscape. Spearheaded by the visionary Obec secretary-general, Thanu Wongchinda, a bold stride towards alleviating the burdens from our educators’ shoulders was made. This tale begins on a fateful day, January 23, when the cabinet, in a historic decision, voted to relieve teachers from the perennial yoke of caretaker duties.
The backdrop of this dramatic turning point was a distressing incident—a haunting midnight assault on a dedicated female teacher in the serene precincts of a primary school nestled in Chiang Rai’s Muang district. The date was January 21, a day that would inadvertently catalyze the cessation of a national policy that had woven itself into the fabric of educational institutions since the year 1999. This unfortunate event set the wheels of change in motion, marking the dawn of an era where teachers could truly focus on what they were meant to do: teach.
The ripple effect of the cabinet’s resolution was immediate. With the swift dissemination of this groundbreaking directive, every corner of the Educational Service Area Office was abuzz with the news of liberation. According to Mr. Thanu, the relentless endeavor to extricate teachers from the mire of non-core tasks was not new. The weight of these extraneous responsibilities had long been a thorn in the side for educators, with some grappling with up to 400 non-core tasks. Schools, grappling with human resource scarcities, often found no recourse but to ladle these extra duties onto their already overburdened teachers, leading to widespread burnout.
“The cancellation of the caretaker duty is what every teacher deserves,” declared Mr. Thanu, encapsulating the sentiment of an entire profession yearning for change. Yet, as is often the case with revolutionary upheavals, the transition was not without its hitches. Amidst the jubilation, a dissenting note was sounded by Roi Ed, a teacher who took to Facebook to reveal that, despite the cabinet’s decree, the specter of caretaker duties lingered at her school. Her post, adorned with poignant photos of desolate school buildings in the waning hours, carried a palpable sense of dismay: “The cabinet said that teachers don’t have to perform a caretaker duty anymore, but supervisors at my school said we have to.”
In response, Deputy government spokesman Karom Polpornklang stepped forward, reiterating the government’s unwavering resolve to enforce the abolition of caretaking responsibilities. Not content with mere words, the government took proactive measures, calling upon sectors to catalog all schools under Obec’s watchful eye. This meticulous exercise aims to foster collaboration with police and local administrative bodies, weaving a protective tapestry around educational institutions and ensuring that teachers can dedicate themselves to their true calling, unhindered by extraneous burdens.
Thus, in this chapter of educational reform, as schools across the nation embark on a journey unshackled from the vestiges of caretaking duties, the road ahead gleams with promise. Teachers, now freed from the chains of non-core tasks, stand on the brink of a new horizon, where their primary mission of molding minds can flourish in its purest form. The story of this transformative journey, spearheaded by Obec and championed by educators far and wide, is a testament to the resilience and undying spirit of those who devote their lives to the noble art of teaching.