Sikaoprachapadungwitt School is located in Sikao, Trang. The name in Thai is โรงเรียนสิเกาประชาผดุงวิทย์
The attached video was taken in January 2012 and shows several girls age 17 (class M5/2) being caned by a male teacher.
We have contacted the school but to date they have ignored our request for a response.
In a conversation today Geraldine Daray-Pugoy says that she has seen many Thai teachers abusing children but has never tried to stop them saying it is part of Thai culture.
Sorry Ms Daray-Pugoy it used to be part of Filipino culture too 20 years ago but it is wrong so they stopped it (19 years ago to be precise). The “culture” argument holds no water – it is ILLEGAL and teachers should not break the law. Teachers in your own country respect the law or they are punished. Why do you think it should be any different here? Do you think it is part of Thai culture for teachers to somehow be above the law?
She went on to say that the teachers who abuse children do it because they love the kids – sorry again Ms Pugoy but you are showing a distinct lack of intelligence and training here. If you love someone you do NOT abuse them.
She should read this article which explains the difference between discipline and abuse.
Ms Daray Pugoy is a Fillipino working in Thailand. As a foreigner, from a country where such abuse is specifically prohibited, she should know better than to try and defend the abuse of small children by adults in schools. She should also make herself aware of her duty to protect the children in her care and if she fails to do so her work permit, and teachers licence, should be removed at very least.
The Ministry of Education regulation on haircuts (in government schools) was removed in May 2003, yes thats eight years ago! the new regulation stated it was up to each individual school to set their own rules on the matter.
So, why do some schools still implement this archaic rule as it achieves nothing and does only harm :-
1. It continues to institutionalize some students to ensure they all look the same and restricts individual development.
2. It stigmatizes students in some schools with the label that they are somehow less “worthy” or even “trustworthy” than students at better quality schools.
To give an example, there are five (large) schools in my home town, three government schools and two private schools. Four of the schools do NOT implement the hair cuts and one does. The results are that kids at the haircutting school are made to feel like second class citizens – unable to understand why their peers and friends can be different. Worse still the kids at the school with the haircuts are “identified” as being of lower grade as few parents choose to send kids to this school but often have no choice if they fail to get seats at the others. These kids are also mercilessly laughed at by the kids in the other four schools about their lack of choice. This creates a two tier system where one school is perceived to be of less value than the other four.
In addition, the haircuts are infringing on childrens personal rights outside the classroom and that is something no school or school administrator should have a right to do. It is one thing to force a child to have a short haircut in school but it is an entirely different matter to be forcing them to conform once outside the school gate. This is depriving children of a very basic right to choose.
So why do some schools still do this?
There are several possibilities.
1. Teachers and administrators are simply stuck in the old days and ways. They just don’t understand the damage they are doing by enforcing archaic rules.
2. Administrators (wrongly) believe that “uniformity” is still the best way. They have no training or education themselves about the negative aspects of this practice.
3. Some teachers are simply obsessed with retaining their power and control over the lives of their students.
4. Most likely, the teachers and administrators at these schools don’t actually know that the rule changed, despite it being eight years ago. EVERY teacher we spoke to at the school I mention said they believed it was a national regulation for kids to have these ridiculous haircuts.
A recent study paper by Mahidol University stated that it was vital for the future of the Thai education system that kids be encouraged to develope their individual personalities as the practice of producing automatons was holding back Thai society as a whole.
The answer is simple – someone needs to educate the educators about the harm caused by this practice, especially regarding the social stigmatization of kids at these shools who should be made to feel equal to their friends.
We are all in favour of ensuring “reasonable standards”, indeed the MoE states that the haircuts must be tidy and girls must tie up long hair in pony tails or plaits whist on the school premises.
However there can be no doubt in anyones mind that forcing kids to all look the same stunts their pesonal developement. Any school that still practices this out of date system is doing their students no favours at all.
News has broken today in the Thai newspapers and TV of the mass caning of girls at Angthong College of Dramatic Arts.
The teacher concerned is Mr Phansak Thanpo,
He caned many girls, some of them 57 times, for failing exams.
He has been summoned to the police station but is claiming that no one can touch him and that he will be caning all the girls again on the 31st May 2011.
The school is a dramatic arts college so they are under the regulations of the Ministry of Culture and may not have to abide by Ministry of Education regulations which strictly forbid corporal punishment. This remains to be seen as we do not think this has ever been tested before in court.
However, the Child Protection Act 2005 bans ALL corporal punishment in ALL schools so we cannot see they have a defence.
Directors email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to email her to let her know how you feel.
57 times for failing an exam is not only ridiculous it is inhuman and barbaric in the extreme.
Childline have been notified, as have UNICEF and the Ministry of Education but as yet we are unsure what they can do. We hope that this teacher and this director are charged and get their day in court and then many years in a Thai jail for this terrible crime.
What part of the word ILLEGAL do Thai teachers and administrators not understand?
You can come up with as many excuses and reasons as you want but it it AGAINST THE LAW for teachers to hit a child in a school in Thailand. This applies to any form of hitting be it hard or soft, with a cane or with a hand, it is ILLEGAL! If you break the law you are committing (or abetting) a crime!
You cannot get around the law by claiming it was “reasonable” or that you have the parents permission, or that the law is flexible etc. The law exists to protect chilren, ALL children equally. NO teacher, school, or parent has the right to choose to ignore the law. Are we a country of laws or are we a country of anarchy?
Most of those teachers who hit always say they do it because the children break the school rules!!
So…………..if a child breaks a “rule” they should be punished (ok we can agree with that) but if a teacher breaks the LAW that is OK?? We don’t think so! Teachers are just as accountable as every other member of society! They are not “special” and they do not have any special status that allows them to pick and choose which laws they obey and which they do not.
On the other hand…………..it is probably a good indicator of the low intelligence level of the abusers that they continue, often openly, to blatantly ignore the laws of our land. After all if they do not understand the meaning of ONE simple word what is the likelihood they understand anything else?
On of the things many teachers in Thailand who discipline children seem to forget is the good kids inthe class. These are the real losers!
If a teacher spends the first 10 minutes of every class disciplining the bad kids, or checking who has not done homework etc, that is 40 hours a year of learning lost to the good kids. Its about time teachers got their priorities right and considered the good kids.
If other kids mis-behave, just remove them from the class and get on with the job of educating those who actually WANT to learn. You are teachers, not pseudo parents or social workers……………so TEACH!
This is the biggest single problem preventing the abuse of children from ending in Thai schools. Time and time again we hear teachers claiming “all Thai teachers are good people” – NO THEY ARE NOT!!
The majority of Thai teachers ARE good people but until we all accept the fact that there are SOME bad people in our profession we will never solve the problem. Its a bit like an alcoholic – he cannot be cured until he accepts he is one.
Teachers must stop denying that bad people and bad teachers exist in our profession in Thailand and we should all work together to remove them – not to cover up for them as we do now.
The age issue is largely to blame. Younger teachers are taught not to criticise older teachers so the older teachers continue the old ways such as rote learning, corporal punishment and even sexual abuse in extreme cases. The saddest thing is that not only will the young teachers not try to stop them but they also learn from them and as they get older they become the same.
The teaching profession has always attracted perverts and sadists. This is same all over the world. Thailand is no different. What IS different is that good Thai teachers do nothing about it. When they see a teacher abusing a child they simply look the other way.
It is time for action – for the sake of our children. Thai teachers MUST put the protection of the children first and:
1. Tell any teacher using violence to stop!
2. If that does not work then report that teacher to the police.
The FIRST thing Thai teachers have to do is get their heads out of the sand – stop saying all teachers are good people, accept that some are bad people then we can collectively work to remove them from our education system.
This article was contributed by a Thai teachers from Chiang Mai and is her personal view.