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Harmony at all costs Print E-mail

 

Thailand is known around the world as the land of smiles; however, how many teachers are smiling whilst their noses are pushed hard up against the educational grindstone? Dedicated teachers are finding it harder to innovate and initiate change in accordance with government policy as they are constantly coming up against a sea of mediocrity.

 

 

There are not many occupations that offer you a job for life these days. Being a foreigner employed on a one or two year contract has certain limitations, especially when pressure is exerted by unscrupulous managers to tow the line or risk being thrown out from the security of your classroom into the baking sunshine.

 

Whilst there are obviously many teachers and professors who are motivated to, “be the best they can be” and work tirelessly in order to improve their students education and their own teaching; there are also those who are more concerned with maintaining harmony in the workplace at all costs.

 

I understand that not everyone is interested in the “big picture” and that some people are more concerned with their personal goals; however, this should not be to the detriment of their students, schools and universities.

 

I personally think that there is no excuse for the behaviour of a minority of individuals to stifle progress in order to keep the status quo and maintain what I believe to be a false sense of harmony in the workplace.

 

What can at first be seen as a lack of moral fibre and intestinal fortitude by some can sometimes be explained as a difference in culture by others. One culture demands that maximum effort be expended to complete the task at hand, whilst the other takes a more reserved approach to perceived progress. I am not sure it is cultural.

 

Ideally, a mixture of the two approaches would be best, at least on paper; however, because Thailand’s education system is in such a woeful state, I believe that now is the time for everyone within our educational institutes and government to band together and embrace innovation rather than run away from it.

 

The more prestigious universities are doing this already. In my opinion, Presidents of universities and Directors of schools have a moral obligation to lead from the front and weed out those that are opposed to the advancement of education in Thailand. Going through the motions to retain the status quo is doing a disservice to our children.

 

I don’t want to sound like President Obama; however, Thailand is in need of change and I truly believe that it has to come from within. Change for the sake of change helps no-one. If we stop being afraid and open our minds to the results of tried and tested new innovations based on sound research, then there is hope for us all yet.

 

In my opinion, the government and educational establishments can still maintain harmony in the workplace, but it should not be at any cost to our children’s education. Already we can see that we are being left behind by our ASEAN neighbours. We have to act now if we are not going to lose touch with them altogether.

Hamony at all costs
 

 

Channarong Rachbuanoy from Education Service Area 4, Ban Phue district Udon Thani province uses a computer as a teaching aid during a visit to Bantatprachanukoon School, which only a few years ago was seen as a new innovation.
(Unedited article published in the Bangkok Post 24th November 2009)

 

 
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