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Wanida Rangsrisak’s Bold Stance Sparks Transformation in Thai Education’s Hierarchical Traditions

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In the enchanting world of Baan Ratchathani School, nestled in the heart of Roi Et, a seemingly minor incident unfolded on March 16 that would ripple across the social fabric of Thai education, challenging the very foundations of hierarchical traditions. The tale begins with Wanida Rangsrisak, an educator whose passion for teaching is only matched by her commitment to her students. On this fateful day, she took to Facebook to share a peculiar message from the school’s principal that read:

“I feel something inappropriate happened today – a teacher sat on my chair. Though I did not see it, while I was a teacher, I never once sat on an executive’s chair and never dared put myself at the commander’s level.”

This message did not just stay within the confines of Facebook; it caught like wildfire, sparking debates and discussions on social media platforms far and wide. The incident, which on the surface might have seemed trivial, pointed to a much deeper issue within the Thai educational system.

The saga took a dramatic turn when the Office of the Basic Education Commission, acting swiftly in response to the social media storm, decided to remove the principal from his throne, assigning him to the relatively calmer waters of the Roi Et district office from March 18 onward. This decisive move, however, was merely the tip of a colossal iceberg lurking beneath the serene surface of Thai education.

Enter Tanawat Suwannapan, a gallant teacher from a public school in the bustling city of Bangkok and a fervent member of the Kru Kor Sorn (Teachers Want to Teach) Network. Tanawat, with the wisdom of years and the clarity of purpose, shed light on the underlying issues plaguing the system. “This chair incident was only the tip of the iceberg. In some cases, principals make teachers serve them food, work on their personal projects or have female teachers work as waitresses at school parties,” he remarked, painting a grim picture of the authoritarian mindset deeply entrenched in Thai bureaucracy and tradition.

Tanawat’s insightful commentary touched upon a critical pain point – the authoritarian structure of the Thai educational system, which often places hierarchy and control above the empowerment and value of individuals. “If a person is unstable, if they are unsure of themselves, they tend to seek validation from others,” he observed, hinting at the principal’s act as a manifestation of deeper insecurities tied to power and authority.

The narrative then twists with the entrance of MP Paramee Waichongcharoen, a figure who transcends the boundaries between education and politics. Paramee, who navigated the transition from a teacher to a politician, brings a unique lens to the issue, highlighting the power struggles not only between teachers and students but also among the educators themselves. “This chair case proves how a school principal can oppress teachers,” Paramee pointed out, unveiling the complexities and nuances of power dynamics within educational institutions.

Yet, amidst this revelation, a silver lining emerges as Paramee discusses the awakening of students to their rights and their courageous stance against oppressive educators. This movement, although nascent, signals a potential shift towards more egalitarian practices within education.

Despite the challenges, both Tanawat and Paramee believe in the resilience and hope of teachers across Thailand. They envisage a transformed educational system where power dynamics are dismantled, and educators can thrive in an environment of mutual respect and empowerment. As the tale of the chair unfolds, it serves not only as a reflection of the current state of education in Thailand but as a beacon of hope, inspiring change and challenging the status quo.

In conclusion, the Baan Ratchathani School chair incident is more than just a tale of a disputed seat; it’s a powerful narrative about seeking validation, the thirst for power, and the quest for transformation within an age-old system. It’s a story that beckons educators, policymakers, and society at large to reexamine traditional hierarchies and pave the way for a more inclusive, empowering, and liberated future in education.


  1. PhuketSunrise April 3, 2024

    This incident is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s about time we shine a light on such outdated traditions in our education system. Kudos to Wanida for standing up!

    • Traditionalist April 3, 2024

      I disagree. There’s value in maintaining a hierarchy in educational institutions. It instills discipline and respect among students and teachers.

      • ModernMind April 3, 2024

        But doesn’t this incident demonstrate how these so-called ‘traditions’ are sometimes nothing more than power plays? Respect should be mutual, not enforced through fear.

    • TeacherTom April 3, 2024

      I’m in the education sector in the US, and while cultures differ, the importance of mutual respect is universal. The ‘chair’ might seem minor, but it symbolizes much more.

  2. Bangkokian101 April 3, 2024

    The removal of the principal seems like a swift action, but will it lead to real change? Or is it just a band-aid solution to appease the public outcry?

  3. FutureEducator April 3, 2024

    I’m studying to be a teacher, and this story both alarms and inspires me. It’s crucial that we, the next generation of educators, learn from incidents like these.

  4. ThaiPatriot April 3, 2024

    It’s disheartening to see the international community focus on what’s essentially an internal matter. We should be able to address our own issues without outsider interference.

    • GlobalCitizen April 3, 2024

      Understanding and sometimes intervening in how education systems around the world work is everyone’s business. Education shapes the global citizens of tomorrow.

  5. EducationReformer April 3, 2024

    We need systemic change, not just the removal of a principal. This incident illustrates the urgent need for reform in the Thai educational bureaucracy.

    • CynicalSam April 3, 2024

      Systemic change? Good luck with that. Such bureaucracies are more interested in maintaining power than enacting real reform.

    • HopefulHenri April 3, 2024

      I believe change is possible if we keep pushing and sharing stories like Wanida’s. It’s about creating a movement for a better future.

    • BureaucraticInsider April 3, 2024

      From the inside, I can tell you there are many who want change. It’s a battle, but not an impossible one.

  6. GreenTeaLover April 3, 2024

    What an inspiring article! It’s time we encourage more educators like Wanida to speak out. The outdated traditions of education need an overhaul.

    • PhuketSunrise April 3, 2024

      Absolutely agree! It’s by having these open discussions that we can start to envision and work towards a new and improved educational system.

    • NostalgiaFan April 3, 2024

      But we also need to be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Some traditions have their place. It’s about balance.

  7. RuralTeacher April 3, 2024

    As a teacher in a rural area, I see the impact of such traditional mindsets on a daily basis. It’s not just about a chair; it’s about the respect and dignity of every educator and student.

    • CitySlicker April 3, 2024

      Interesting perspective. It seems like these issues are pervasive throughout the country, irrespective of urban or rural settings.

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