After a group of students launched a campaign against the coup makers’ controversial nationalistic 12 Thai Values, to be imposed to curriculum, the military has intimidated a Grade 11 student in a bid to stop her from challenging the regime. Meanwhile, the education minister think the students might be abnormal.
The junta reportedly called the director of the school to ask about the student activist to pressure the school, while the student activist insisted to carry on with her activities for the academic freedom
Education Minister Gen Narong Phipttanasai said on Wednesday that the student group opposing the nationalistic 12 values might be abnormal.
“We have to ask if any of the 12 values is not good. Just try to recite it. The first is love the nation and religion. The second is honesty and sacrifice. From 1-12, these values are flawless. If the imposition of the 12 values is wrong, we have to see if those [opposing this] is abnormal,” said Narong.
On Wednesday, Natanan Warintoravej, aka Nice, the secretary-general of the Education for Liberation of Siam (ELS), a student association comprises mostly high school students who oppose the junta’s education reform based on morality stipulated by the so called 12 Thai values, revealed that the military phoned the director of Triam Udom Suksa school, where she is studying, in central Bangkok to ask about her and ELS activists.
After the phone call, many of her teachers asked whether the ELS activities have defied the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s order.
The school has not taken any action against her yet, Natanan told Prachatai.
The Education for Liberation of Siam group stating their stance in front of the Ministry of Education on 14 October. Nantanan (sencond from the right)
The so-called 12 traditional Thai values invented by Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, the junta leader, after the coup d’état in May are the followings:
- Love for the nation, religions and monarchy
- Honesty, patience and good intentions for the public
- Gratitude to parents, guardians and teachers
- Perseverance in learning
- Conservation of Thai culture
- Morality and sharing with others
- Correct understanding of democracy with the monarch as head of the state
- Discipline and respect for the law and elders
- Awareness in thinking and doing things, and following the guidance of His Majesty the King
- Living by the sufficiency economy philosophy guided by His Majesty the King
- Physical and mental strength against greed
- Concern about the public and national good more than self-interest.
Despite the intimidation from the military, Natanan, however, said that she and the ELS will continue to campaign against the 12 Thai values and urged the junta to understand that the ELS activities are not politically aimed against the them because the members of the group have various political orientations.
“Students in the ELS have different political orientations and ideologies. We do not have an agenda to topple the junta. We just see the 12 values differently,” said Natanan.
On 14 October, Natanan and other ELS members went to the Ministry of Education to symbolically protest against the 12 Thai values, where the representative of the group read an essay to state the ELS’s stance to oppose the junta’s plan to promote its definition of ‘good students’ via the implementation of 12 values.
In addition, the group has also created a petition to the education ministry on Change.org to stop imposing the 12 values into the Thai education curriculum.