Tuesday, May 22, 2012

School bribe inquiry ordered

The Education Ministry has told Bodindecha (Sing Singhaseni) School to accept 57 students it earlier rejected and ordered a probe against the director for bribery.
Nithamanee Kusolsawat hugs her 15-year-old daughter, Issaree, after Bodindecha (Sing Singhaseni) School was told to enrol 57 Matthayom 3 students it had earlier rejected. APICHART JINAKUL
The move ended the hunger strike of four students outside Government House which started on Friday in an attempt to pressure the authorities.
The ministry's order came after a meeting between Pornpichit Sukannan, adviser to Education Minister Suchart Thada-Thamrongvech, and parents who suspected irregularities in the school's admission system after their children were denied seats.
Academic Boontan Dokthaisong, a former senator, and Pol Maj Gen Wichai Sangprapai, deputy chief of Metropolitan Police Bureau, also attended the meeting as observers.
Last Friday, parents lodged a petition with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra asking her to look into the issue.
Narong Niyomraj, a parent who camped out in front of Government House, yesterday rejoiced at the news, saying he would not take any further action against the school.
"The school admits its fault. The students have done nothing wrong. We get what we want. There is no need to do anything more," he said. Pakwan Boonpichet, 16, said she and her friends are happy with the outcome.
"We came to protect the right to further our study at the school. So we are going back to school when it opens
[tomorrow]," she said. Pakwan said she and her friends have the right to continue their study at the school because they have a GPA of over 1.0, a minimum requirement set by the school.
Mr Pornpichit said yesterday that Mr Suchart and a group of parents will today talk to the media about the matter.
He said a committee has been set up to investigate Suwat Wiwattananon, the school director, for allegedly demanding money from parents in exchange for school seats.
Mr Suwat has strongly denied the accusation.
Sasitara Pichaicharnnarong, education permanent secretary, said yesterday the ministry will speed up the investigation into the allegations.
She said the probe is likely to be concluded within two weeks.
While talks were under way, a group of parents yesterday showed up at the Education Ministry in the hope of finding seats for their children at Navamintrachinuthit Suan Kularp Witthayalai school in Pathum Thani.
They want the school management to open more seats at Matthayom 1 and Matthayom 4 levels for their children.
According to the parents, the school management has reduced the number of seats.
Mr Pornpichit accepted the petition from the parents and pledged to do all he could to help.