Schools in Thailand face a shortage of foreign teachers due to the covid-19 pandemic, disrupting classes across the education sector at many levels and leading to calls for the Thai government to assist both international students and teachers in obtaining proper visas and entry into the country.
The new school year’s start was delayed by almost two months, with educational institutions permitted to reopen for classes from July 1st following lockdowns and restrictions across Thailand.
However, many foreign teachers who work in schools across Thailand had left the country at the end of the last school year and have since been unable to return due to continued restrictions for arrivals to Thailand.
While those with work permits may apply to enter the country, the process is difficult and expensive, with many steps to get to Thailand and a 14-day mandatory quarantine stay at the arrival’s own expense required.
Another issue is that some foreign teachers already in Thailand and willing to work do not possess the correct visa type to begin teaching or have an expired visa with no way to renew it due to the closure of borders with Thailand’s neighboring countries.
As a potential solution, the Association of Private School for Non-Formal Education has submitted a request to the government asking for a relaxation of rules for both teachers and students inside Thailand and waiting to enter the country.
President of the Association, Thongchai Pradubchananurat, explained that the request asks the government to consider allowing foreign teachers and students inside Thailand to remain in the country legally while schools prepare the paperwork for applications and renewals of work permits and student visas.
He also said that teachers in Thailand on a tourist visa should be allowed to apply for Non-Immigration Education visas inside the country rather than needing to visit a nearby embassy or consulate first as per the usual procedure.
The request includes international students on visa types that are not related to education being afforded the opportunity to upgrade to a Non-Immigration Education visa inside the country rather than visiting a neighboring nation also.
The association submitted the formal request through the government’s complaint center. Addressed directly to Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, the document was received by the Deputy Prime Minster’s Office Minister, Suporn Atthawong, on Tuesday.
Yesterday, the Thai Cabinet approved an extension to the visa amnesty covering a range of visa types until September 26th. However, full details of the extension are yet to be publicly announced.
Source: Bangkok Post