Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand’s Ministry of Education will seek cabinet approval for 21.6 billion THB (655 million USD) to subsidise education costs at 2,000 THB per student to mitigate financial burdens for parents as a result of COVID-19, local media reported.

According to Minister of Education Treenuch Thienthong said the mitigation measures were proposed at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, last week and is expected to be submitted to the cabinet for approval on July 27.

State-run schools had returned some maintenance fees and miscellaneous expenses to parents, while private schools affiliated with the Office of the Private Education Commission (Opec) had also returned some education fees amounting to about 2.27 billion THB, she said.

As parents' daily expenses increased substantially during COVID-19, the ministry came up with further measures to help.

The government will be asked to subsidise the tuition fees at 2,000 THB per student in the elementary and vocational education systems with a budget of 21.6 billion THB based on a database of those involved in the free education scheme. The funds are to help parents tackle financial issues during COVID-19 and can be spent on education necessities such as tuition fees, maintenance, internet bills or electric bills.

Privately-run and international schools will be asked to consider reducing their educational fees for parents, and set up coordination centres to help work on their expenses.

The ministry attempted to narrow the learning gap and learning set-backs caused by the pandemic on students by allowing schools to spend subsidies allocated under the free education scheme on fees, books, accessories, uniforms and development activities.

In addition, the government has also come up with measures to organise vocational training for parents who lost their jobs due to COVID-19, which will cover travel and food costs at 2,000 THB each person. It will search for initial funds to help parents start new jobs, Treenuch added./.