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University presidents apologise for angering high schoolers

University presidents apologise for angering high schoolers

Answers on entrance exam Facebook forum about Covid-19 and exam eligibility deemed insensitive

Students prepare for university entrance exams at the Secondary Demonstration School of Srinakharinwirot University on Feb 22, 2020. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Students prepare for university entrance exams at the Secondary Demonstration School of Srinakharinwirot University on Feb 22, 2020. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The Council of University Presidents of Thailand (CUPT) on Friday apologised for answers to online queries about Covid-19 that angered high school students preparing for entrance exams.

High schoolers branded as insensitive and disrespectful an answer posted on a Facebook page suggesting that if students have Covid when the exams take place, they could always take the exam next year.

Chalie Charoenlarpnopparut, who is in charge of the Thai University Central Admission System (TCAS), said the council apologised to students for the answers posted by administrators of the TCAS Facebook account, Mytcas.com, that had stirred waves of anger.

Mr Chalie, a vice-rector of Thammasat University, said the administrators simply provided “by the book” answers to students’ queries.

The CUPT, which oversees the entrance exams, has been on the hot seat, with the #bancupt hashtag trending locally on Twitter.

The criticism of the council followed the responses made to students who had posted queries on the TCAS Facebook page about Covid-19, with the reply shocking them.

One asked what students should do if they could not recover from Covid-19 in time for the exams. The answer from the administrators was: “Postpone your exams to next year or select faculties that do not require TCAS tests.”

Another asked what students should do on the second exam day if a Covid cluster is detected in the first sitting. “Let’s see that happens first,” was the reply.

Mr Chalie said students who test positive for the coronavirus when they come for exams will not be allowed to take the tests. Those who have high temperatures but test negative will be directed to take their exams in rooms separate from other candidates.

The TCAS Facebook page was filled with critical posts about the answers, and many urged administrators to show better manners in treating questions from students.

“Answers should be more appropriate as this is a page for education. You should give students asking you questions some respect,” one commented.

Applications for TCAS this year opened on Friday and will run until Feb 9. The exams are held on March 19 and 20 and the results will be announced on April 18 and 20.

Reference