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