PUBLISHED : 24 Jan 2024 at 04:00
RANONG: The government has agreed to end teacher caretaking duties during after-school hours following an assault on a teacher in Chiang Rai on Saturday.
According to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, the move was approved during the cabinet’s mobile meeting at Ranong Civic Centre on Tuesday after a primary school teacher was attacked by a 38-year-old man during her shift.
Caretaking responsibilities for teachers were first endorsed in a resolution published on July 6, 1999, by the then-cabinet. According to the resolution, every employee at a civil agency premises, including schools, was required where necessary to take on caretaking responsibilities to safeguard their workplaces outside working hours — at night, at weekends and on holidays.
Deputy Education Minister Surasak Phancharoenworakul said the cabinet had reached an agreement on cancelling this requirement due to the availability of security-related technology, such as CCTV, which was not as freely available when the resolution was first issued.
However, the rehiring of 14,000 school janitors nationwide was not discussed. Mr Surasak said his ministry was ordered to conduct more studies before submitting its findings at the next cabinet meeting.
Mr Surasak said local administrative agencies and police will now take on caretaking duties outside of teaching hours.
Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said he believed it should, in fact, be the job of security agencies to suppress any crime and investigate damage resulting from incidents at schools that happen at night or at weekends, he added.
“Teachers should not be responsible for safeguarding their school from any criminal conduct. That is a responsibility of police officers and local administrators, not teachers,” said Mr Anutin.