Education Ministry to help schools at border

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BANGKOK, 2 May 2011 (NNT) – The Ministry of Education is preparing to help schools located along the Thai-Cambodian border cope with the new semester after the area has been negatively affected by border skirmishes.

Education Minister Chinnaworn Boonyakiat reported that over 24,000 residents in three border provinces, namely Surin, Si Sa Ket and Buri Ram have been evacuated to safer zones following the cross-border shootings, and most of them are taking refuge in schools.

Mr Chinnaworn stated that the ministry has four measures to assist schools both at the time when the situation has returned to normalcy and in the case the conflict prolongs, causing a delay to the opening of the new semester from the middle of this month.

Firstly, budgets will be allocated to support utility expenses of schools which have been used as shelters for residents. Secondly, school executives and related sectors will convene to ensure that the new academic year will begin as usual in case the situation eases off.

Thirdly, evacuation drills will be arranged for students in case the fighting prolongs. And lastly, security units will be requested to construct more bunkers at border schools where affected villagers are taking refuge.

The Education Minister is scheduled to visit schools along the Thai-Cambodian border on 7 May 2011. He pledged that the ministry gave the highest priority to safety of students and their families.