Students in an online survey said teachers traded grades for helping their work, buying tutorials, or sex.
MORE THAN half of Thai students report that their teachers trade grades for special favours including sexual acts, an online survey revealed recently.
Of the 2,919 student participants in the Facebook-based survey, 52 per cent said their teachers had made requests that impacted on their grades according to the response. Of the respondents who believe their grades were not based solely on academic performance, 1.4 per cent said they got good grades in return for sexual favours. About 25 per cent said teachers favoured students who helped with their personal work. “I had to paint a teacher’s house once,” one student said. Another 18 per cent said teachers favour those who take private tutorial classes with them, while some said they had to take their teachers out for a meal or throw a surprise party for them to get a good grade. Complaining of unfair grading, 37 per cent said that only those who became “teachers’ pet” could gain favourable grades. Many students said they had to purchase products from their teachers or else their grades would be affected.
These shocking findings come from the nationwide Sprouts School Survey 2016, which gathered information from students aged 12 to 17 in January and February.
Sprouts Schools is a non-profit initiative run by Jonas Koblin, a Bangkok University graduate and managing director of We Do Asia Co Ltd. In addition to conducting research, Sprouts Schools creates free learning content for teachers and students on YouTube and at www.facebook.com/sproutsschool/. “I became interested in Thai education as founder of a Bangkok-based company with around 50 staff, after I experienced a lot of variation in the skill levels among job candidates – even if they held the same degrees,” Koblin explained.
In the latest Sprouts School survey, 71 per cent of respondents said an app to report poor teachers’ behaviour anonymously would be useful. About 16 per cent said such an app would be a good idea, but they would not use it, while 11 per cent were undecided. Only 2 per cent said the app would be a bad idea.
The respondents were 70 per cent female, with 78 per cent in state schools and the rest from private schools.
Some 57 per cent of the respondents agreed that there were corrupt practices at their educational institutions. “Schools collect Bt200 for SMS services, but our parents only get messages during the first week,” one student said. Many also complained about school directors going on trips and making unnecessary renovations to the school.
Some 35 per cent said their teachers scolded them for asking questions, while 42 per cent said they had to learn their subjects by rote in order to pass exams.
Nearly a third of the respondents said their English-language teachers did not let them practise speaking, while 33 per cent said they were not sure if their Thai-language teachers even bothered to check their homework assignments.
Fifty-five per cent of the students said they had been hit by their teachers in the last year: 43 per cent recorded being hit on the hand, 41 per cent on the buttocks.
The Sprouts School Survey 2016, however, did find some positive signs. Of the respondents, 68 per cent said they liked going to school, 78 per cent said their schools offered subjects they wanted to study, while 83 per cent said there was no bullying at their school.
Koblin said he now planned to track students’ views on their school on a regular basis. Using the same grass-roots approach that inspired Sprouts School’s first social media initiative, he has created a YouTube clip about Thai education. “Asking questions without demanding immediate answers might lead to new ideas about how we can help fix some of the problems in the education |sector,” he said.