Bt1.3 bil­lion short­age in text­book funds blamed on ‘mis­un­der­stand­ing’

The Nation - - THAILAND -

THE BUD­GET Bureau will cough up more money to the of­fice re­spon­si­ble for procur­ing text­books for schools af­ter a “mis­un­der­stand­ing” caused the orig­i­nal bud­get al­lo­ca­tion to be cut by half.

Schools, mean­while, are be­ing en­cour­aged to buy text­books us­ing some of the money in­tended for other uses.

The Of­fice of Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sion (Obec) has asked the bureau to find out why the funds al­lo­cated for text­books was about Bt1.3 bil­lion or 50 per cent short, Obec chief Boon­rak Yod­phetch said on Wed­nes­day.

He was re­spond­ing to a re­cent re­port that an Obec-run school in Kan­chanaburi prov­ince did not have enough money to buy text­books.

All chil­dren re­ceive 12 years of free school­ing, plus three years of pre-pri­mary school­ing in Thai­land.

The new aca­demic year be­gan in May.

Boon­rak noted that schools un­der other agen­cies also suf­fered cuts in their text­book bud­get. How­ever, he said, schools should not worry about this is­sue, be­cause it stemmed from a mis­un­der­stand­ing be­tween Obec and the Bud­get Bureau.

“Now both agen­cies have come to an un­der­stand­ing and the Bud­get Bureau has con­firmed they are in the process of pro­vid­ing the re­main­ing funds needed to buy text­books,” he said.

This year’s bud­get for Obec’s share of the funds for free ed­u­ca­tion is split five ways: Bt20 bil­lion for tu­ition; Bt2 bil­lion for learn­ing ma­te­ri­als and sta­tion­ary; Bt2 bil­lion for uni­forms; and Bt2 bil­lion for ex­tra- cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties and text­books.

So far the agency had re­ceived 70 per cent of the money for the first four items, Boon­rak said, adding that the money in hand should cover the cost of text­books while schools wait for text­book funds to ar­rive.

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