Here in Thailand you probably know that us foreigners or better know as “farangs” often complain about how Thais do things, especially government departments.
Well this one is a dozy of an idea and was thought up by the Teacher’s Council of Thailand (TCT). All us farang teacher’s here in Thailand now have to complete a Thai Culture Course to be able to renew our visas and continue teaching. There are also other things in the pipe-works but this is the urgently needed piece of paper to have at this point of time.
I have to renew my visa in January so I am sitting back and reading what is going on in forums across Thailand relating to this Thai culture course. All I can say is that I have read so many people’s take on the culture course, I haven’t done it so I am going by what they have said, it is all bad news and very negative feedback.
Most are really pissed off and are accusing the Teacher’s Council and Ministry of Education (MOE) of nothing more than a grab for cash, and it seems this way, actually no; it is this way.
There are teachers who have been in Thailand for many years and can speak Thai and probably know Thai culture better than most Thais who have lashed out at this course, some have said it is the most ridiculous and idiotic thing they have ever attended in Thailand.
This raised my eyebrows as we being farangs have been through some of the most stupid and lame things one could imagine, so it must be really bad. I read this poor guy’s take on the culture course and I couldn’t help but laugh as it reads like a comedy but if I was in his shoes there at the course I would have been going fucking insane.
Teaching forums are full of complaints and enraged people who have been to the course, the MOE must know that there are a lot of people angry and incensed at this money grab, but again they don’t care, they are Thai and don’t understand anything going on around them.
This is from a teacher’s forum this month.
1. According to the TCT (Teachers Council of Thailand) ALL foreign teachers must take a Thai Culture course which takes about 20 hours (one weekend) and costs anywhere from 4,000 baht on up.
2. Also, according to the TCT, within two years all teachers must either have a BEd, one year's worth of Graduate level Education credits or pass a series of 4 tests at 1,000b each. It is reported that out of about 2,500 test takers this year, about 10% of the Thais passed and .5% of the Farangs passed. However, the website with the test results has been taken offline and I don't think anyone has actually received their official results yet.
The one year's worth of Grad Level Ed. is offered by various Thai Universities at prices varying from 60K - 80K baht.Whether or not these requirements will be adhered to is a good question. Whether or not they will improve the quality of education in Thailand as a result of these changes is another good question. That's all I know.
This is common on forums across the board, know one including the TCT or MOE know what they are doing, they are making it up as they go, and they have to be.
There are a few teachers from my school going to do a course in Khong kaen a 4 or so hour drive away in 2 weeks time. It costs 3,500 Baht minus travel, accommodation and meals. I will wait and see what they report and then make my decision on what I will do.
I only have to sit the ‘culture course’ I am exempt from the BEd or 60,000 Thai Baht year course. I am thinking about returning home and back into my old job, the only problem is that Noot won’t have finished her degree here by January so it means I will have to hold out until she does this and then we can return and Noot can study a Masters Degree if she wants to in Australia.
We are going to invest some money in a little shop and we will see how this goes, if things look good then we will have a go at it and if we can make enough from this, I will pack in teaching and just do some private tuition from home and visa runs every 3 months until Noot’s degree is completed and then we will leave.
Well this is just ideas at this time and it is early in this debacle the TCT and MOE have created, I will sit back and follow and keep my cards close to my chest for the time being.
Life is never boring in Thailand and anything can and usually will happen.