The financial discipline of Thailand’s teachers has come under scrutiny, with calls for strict regulations to curb inappropriate debt. Narin Chamanadou, Director of Kanchanaphisek School and President of the Association of Secondary School Administrators in Thailand revealed that the country’s teachers collectively owe over 1.4 trillion baht.
The majority of this debt, approximately 64%, is owed to the Teacher’s Savings Cooperatives, while 28% is owed to the Government Savings Bank and 4% each to Krung Thai Bank and the Government Housing Bank. Inappropriate debt, such as gambling, is a concern within the profession.
It was divulged today that the total debt of Thailand’s teachers, exceeding 900,000 individuals, stood at a staggering 1.4 trillion baht. The Teacher’s Savings Cooperatives held the lion’s share of this debt, accounting for 64%, or 890,000 million baht, with an average interest rate of 5.64%.
The Government Savings Bank followed with 28% of the total debt equalling 390,000 million baht at an interest rate of 6.9%. Krung Thai Bank and the Government Housing Bank each held 4% of the total debt, equivalent to 63,000 million baht and 61,000 million baht respectively, each with interest rates of 7.12% and 6.4%.
The issue of teacher debt is a persistent problem that previous governments have attempted to address without success. Reasons for this include a lack of understanding of the true nature of teacher debt, which can be categorised into good debt, bad debt, and debt acquired before becoming a teacher, among others, reported KhaoSod.
Narin highlighted that some teachers have also acquired debt due to a lack of financial discipline, such as gambling. “Many teachers have responsibly borrowed money for home purchases, vehicle purchases, or further education, and this is not problematic. “Teachers who gamble lose their futures and are unable to repay their debts. The government should intervene in such cases.”
Narin also called for the Ministry of Education and the Teacher’s Savings Cooperatives to take the lead in consolidating teacher debt and devising effective debt management solutions. Moreover, Narin suggested that the Office of the Civil Service Commission and the Office of Basic Education Commission should enact laws and regulations to control and supervise the discipline of teachers, imposing penalties on teachers who incur inappropriate debt. “Teachers who gamble, which is already illegal, or spend recklessly should be disciplined.”