IPPS in last year
IPPS ACTIVITIES IN 2012

The Institute of Public Policy Studies planned to hold 23 activities in 2012 and we actually completed 24 activities; 2 cancelled and 3 added. They were grouped into 14 program names and under 4 main categories:
  1. POLITICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM.
  2. DEMOCRATIC VALUES PROGRAM.
  3. POLICY WATCH PROGRAM.
  4. MEDIA.


POLITICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM

Political Education Program was divided into 2 programs according to their target groups; schools and education personals/supervisors.
  1. The Promotion of Political Education in Schools (PPES) was an ongoing project from 2010 and 2011. Objectives were to instill idea that democracy is a way-of-life that must be practiced in daily activities. Student projects were used as media to give the participants opportunity to practice this idea when working together. Participants were both teachers and students. Teachers were project supervisors and students were doers. Before becoming the project supervisors, teachers should re-adjusted their mindset about democracy. 3 workshops were held for teachers only. After the workshops, teachers were asked to write proposals, with their students, on how to do something good for the schools or communities. IPPS selected 7 projects of 5 schools. We visited every school and talked with the students on how to work together in a democratic manner. After that, the students worked according to their plans and 4 representatives from each project came to present in Bangkok. They shared their experiences with students from other schools. They learned new ideas about democracy and last but not least, they went back with understanding that democracy is a way-of-life that should be practiced daily and with everyone.

    This program had 10 outputs:
    • 3 teachers workshops, totaled 183 participants. (BM-IPPS-12-002, BM-IPPS-12-004, BM-IPPS-12-005)
    • 5 lectures, totaled 201 participants. (BM-IPPS-12-008, BM-IPPS-12-009, BM-IPPS-12-010, BM-IPPS-12-011, BM-IPPS-12-012)
    • 1 congress, totaled 31 participants, (BM-IPPS-12-017)
    • 1 dialog was added to the planned activities in order to explore possibility of jointly organize civic education program in the future. 7 participants. (BM-IPPS-12-025)


    The program results or achievement are IPPS being recognized as leading players in civic education in Thailand. We are able to become a pioneer in the civic education. The Council of Political development sought our cooperation in writing a strategic plan for the national civic education plan. The Promotion of Political Education in Schools (PPES) will certainly be one of many ideas to incorporate in the plan.

    Means of verifications of the program were numbers of attendants to each activity. We limited 30 to the teacher workshop and 40 for the congress and reached these target numbers every time. We sought co-operations from other public agency and are able to enlarge our networking after each activity ended.

    Indicators of the program accomplishment were done through participants evaluation. Questionnaires were delivered after each activity and they were concluded in both qualitative and quantitative results. Their comments were feedback to our program development and a lot of improvements were done during these three succeeding years.

    However, there are obstacles and difficulties to this program. They are;
    1. There is no guarantee that teachers attended the workshops will submit project proposal. The attended: submitted ratio is quite low; less than 10:1. We found out that schools and teachers were loaded with extra work and projects from either the education ministry or other state agencies.
    2. We have to limit numbers of students project granted to a maximum of 7 each year due to financial constraint.
    3. Student representatives from each school projects also limited to 4 due to financial constraint also.


    The BM-IPPS-12-004 and BM-IPPS-12-005 were changed to allow us to explore possibility of holding civic education activities with primary school teachers and students in 2013. However, the outcome/activities of these two programs were adopted in our final congress, BM-IPPS-12-017.

  2. The Education for Democratic Citizen (EDC) : The Strengthening of Civic Education for Thai Model/ Strengthening of Citizenships Roles in Democratic Society was held with objectives to acknowledge civic education concepts and practices in a global democratic society to education personals in the provinces. The target groups were changed from community college students and personals to educators since the latter were people who will play important roles in promoting citizenship and civic engagement in both formal and informal education. Lectures and workshop method were extensively used in the program. Participants attended the first were invited to the second one. The program was an initiative step towards cooperation among civil societal and state agencies responsible in preparing civic education strategy for formal and informal education curriculum.

    This program had 2 outputs: BM-IPPS-12-003 and BM-IPPS-12-014. Both were seminar/workshops and the total participants were 82.

    The program results/achievement was cooperation between the Education Ministry, Interior Ministry, the Office of the Election Commission and the Office of the Human Rights Commission.

    Means of verifications of the program was the participants feedback that civic education must be promoted in the government policy. Once starting, promotion of citizenship in a democratic society must become an ongoing process and engaging by all societal sectors.

    Indicators of the program accomplishment were done through participants evaluation.

    However, there are obstacles and difficulties to this program since IPPS is not state agency, therefore, our activity was done through coordination and cooperation between partner agencies. Every participant attended on their free will and we were unable to monitor the activity outcome after the program ended.

    This program will be developed in 2013 with more focus on civic education strategy for Thailand.

    DEMOCRATIC VALUES

  3. Thai Politics Development from 1912 to 2012, BM-IPPS-12-007, was a reflection of 80 years of Thai democracy held to commemorate 80th anniversary.

    The program has 1 output, 13 lectures by 13 distinguish speakers from academia to societal leaders in a 2-day congress on Thai political development from 1912 to 2012. They presented democratic perspective and impact in all dimensions from the Chinese 1911 Sin-Hai revolution to the 1912 changing from absolute monarchy and the later 80 years of Thailand democracy. The activity ended with a conclusion of Thai democracy; past and future.

    The program results/achievement was cooperation between IPPS, the Arts faculty Department of History and Arts and Culture magazine. Another will be a publication of these lecture papers, in 2013.

    POLICY WATCH PROGRAM

    Policy Watch Program was our public policy monitoring on 5 issues; reconciliation, flood management, local authority administration, constitutional court and last but not least, rice pledging program.

    The program had 6 outputs:
  4. IPPS Annual Meeting, BM-IPPS-12-001, was a regular annual meeting between IPPS and scholars and resource persons who are our network. Objective is to inform them on our achievement and plan for the future. We achieved valuable comments and opinions for our policy watch issues.

  5. National Reconciliation: An Element of Politicians or Citizen?, BM-IPPS-12-015. A dialog forum where selective, active and non-partisan citizens shared their views and suggestions on how, and the possibility, to bring reconciliation to the rifted Thai society. Though it was attended by only 16 people, their opinions were more than financial compensation.
    Following the September 2006 coup to oust Thaksin government, Thai society was divided into 2 factions; the anti and pro Thaksin. Conflict escalated to trouble and violence in April 2010. The then government, Abhisit administration, used military action to restore peace to the nation and resulted in 100 people, civilians and militants, died. When the Yingluck administration took position, on 10th January 2012 the Cabinet approved compensation for victims of violence from the coup in September 2006 to the riots in April 2010. All victims will get a monetary compensation at a maximum of Bt. 7.75-7.95 million per person. The cabinet also allocated a Bt. 43 million budget to bail detainees arrested during the 2010 violence. They included offenders charged of torching public and private buildings.
    Though the resolution was in conformity to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the compensation per person is different from the Kanit Na Nakorn Truth Panel recommendation, Bt. 3.24 million compensation for the deceased and actual expense plus minimum wage daily for the loss of working opportunity. The Truth Panel also sent an open letter to the government recommended measures to unite the rifted societal fraction before the nation collapse.

  6. The Flood Prevention Policy BM-IPPS-12-016,. A symposium to monitor the government Bt. 350 billion flood and water management project. 212 people attended this event and the achievement is a cooperation between IPPS and other organizing agencies; the Sub-Human Rights Commission on Economic, Cultural and Social, the Stop Global Warming Association and the Population and Community Development Association ( PDA) . Related information, including from the speakers will be published by PDA.
    Flooding in 2011 led to the approval of 4 financial bills by the emergency decree allowing the government to seek Bt. 350 billion for water management. Two executive boards were appointed, and one chaired by the Prime Minister, to responsible water management and flood prevention. As emergency decree needs no parliamentary scrutinizing and the budget was approved without any implementation and financial details. The government later invited private sector to submit proposal on flood management plan of Bt. 300 billion turn-key project while a Bt. 50 billion had been allotted for repairing and upgrading of existing waterway facilities. This huge amount of public expenditure must be monitored by every tax-payer.

  7. The Citizenship Education Management in Local Administration Organization, BM-IPPS-12-019. A round table discussion by scholars, media and local authority executive officials. Objective is to promote civic education among local administration organizations who have authority and responsible on formal and non-formal education. 30 participants attended.
    A study on Thai youth participation in community affairs revealed that one of the reason why the sub-district youth councils failed was a lack of local administrators support. While youth council is an attempt to deviate young people away from drugs, games, and sexual activity, the study also stated that not only civic education is absent from the current educational system but the youth council also lack of interesting activity to capture young people attention. They wanted the adults to listen and respond to their opinions and problems. Another study, done by the National Economic and Social Development Board, disclosed that Thai students are at risk of mental problems, melancholy and irritability.

  8. Thailand Scenario/ Rice Politics, BM-IPPS-12-021. A discussion on the most controversial government public policy; Rice Pledging Program with an insightful knowledge and opinions from rice experts. Objective was to find an in depth understanding about rice, its future and genuine rice policy that benefits Thai farmers.
    Rice is the most important domestic and import goods in Thailand from past to present. It always became political issue that affected the government stability. When Phue Thai government took position, the Rice Pledging Program was one of the policy statements to be implemented. The state later bought paddy rice at a Bt. 15,000 to Bt. 20,000 per ton for plain white and jasmine rice, 40% higher than market prices. Though there were lots of criticism from economists, scholars, researchers, exporters and media, the government announced there would be a total of more than 20 million tons pledging in 2012, making a Bt. 350 billion public expenditure. The Rice Pledging Program could lead to a rise of public debt to a critical of 60% of GDP in 6 years. Moreover, there were many loopholes that allowed corruptions in all levels and the scheme is actually a state monopoly of rice trading, not pledging.

  9. Roles of the Constitutional Court in Germany BM-IPPS-12-026. A lecture on the German Constitution Court and the Constitution Court impact on Thai political development. The program was added to our plan since the Constitutional Court functions and authority became hot issue after it decided, in June, to rule on the parliamentary constitution amendment.
    The Constitution Court decision, in June 2012, to rule on the constitutional amendment submitted by groups of individuals including senators, incited criticisms on the Courts authority from the Phue Thai party and some academia. They viewed it as judiciary interference with the legislative movement since the petitions also submitted through the Attorney-General and the AG did not forward them to the Court. The Constitution Court reasoned it has authority, under Section 68 of the Constitution, to guard against the type of government. This issue became the hottest argument since there were speculations that the Court would use its power to dissolve Phue Thai Party.
    On 13th June 2012, the Constitutional Court ruled that the contentious constitutional amendment bill is constitutional but added that Parliament could amend the constitution, but not completely rewrite it.
    As the Thai Constitutional Court, established in 1997 following the promulgation of the Constitution of 1997, was influenced by the German Constitutional Court, we should learn about the German Constitutional Court authority and its roles in safeguarding political reform and restore stability to its country.

    The Policy Watch Program results or achievement were a strengthening of IPPS cooperation with other public and private agencies of similar missions and interest.

    Means of verifications of the dialog program should be evaluated from output/ recommendations from each activity. They were summarized in IPPS monthly newsletter and website.

    Indicators of the program accomplishment were done through participants evaluation.

    Obstacles and difficulties to the policy watch program are:
    1. Number of participants was mostly lower than anticipation. People nowadays has many and easy access to information, unavailing, traveling inconvenient, etc.



    MEDIA

  10. The 80 Year Database of Thai Democracy , BM-IPPS-01-006, was a research study, in database form, to state the 80 years of Thai democracy. It was an update of our first and second versions done by Dr. Chai-Anan Samudavanija and Dr. Chaowana Traimas himself. Dr. Chaowana is currently the secretariat to the Office of the Constitutional Court and long-time researcher to IPPS. The research will be published in 2013.

  11. Promotion of Political Education in Schools Program (PPES,) BM-IPPS-12-018, a publication of our political education in schools program from the beginning in 2010 until completed in 2012. The book revealed the process, achievement and recommendations for the future. It will be distributed to related agencies.

  12. IPPS monthly newsletter, BM-IPPS-12-022.

  13. IPPS web page, BM-IPPS-12-023, where monthly newsletter were published in digital form. The page also an e-library of IPPS publications. Some of them are out-of-stock and could not be obtained from any book store.

  14. Exhibition and students play on democracy, BM-IPPS-12-024, a 3-day exhibition to display IPPS accomplishment and resources. This activity was added to our plan and held at the UN Building by requested of the host, King Prachatipok Institute.
 


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