On National Children’s Day in 2024, Mr. Srettha Thavisin, Prime Minister, announced the Thailand Zero Dropout initiative to ensure access to education for all children and adolescents and set the goal of zero dropouts nationwide. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin visited Ratchaburi Province, which held personal significance for him. It was where he mobilized 100 million Thai Baht in donations during his tenure in the private sector to support the “Ratchaburi ZERO DROPOUT – Every Child Must Be Able to Access Education” campaign. This fund contributed to innovative educational developments, making it more feasible to address the issue of children dropping out of the education system.

During discussions on the challenges and development of Ratchaburi Province at the provincial town hall, attended by the governor and heads of all government agencies, the Prime Minister emphasized the province’s three-year implementation of the ‘Zero Dropout’ initiative and the need for tangible results. With millions of children dropping out of the education system, the Prime Minister underscored education’s importance and prioritized these individuals nationally. He stated his longstanding commitment to setting an example even before assuming the position of Prime Minister. He invited large companies to support each province in reintegrating children who have dropped out back into the education system.

“Personally, I’ve been endeavoring to contribute positively to education. During my tenure in the private sector, I directed my company’s efforts towards Ratchaburi. Recognizing it as a province of a sufficient size where it is possible to assist children across the province in returning to the education system, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in a significant number of children dropping out.”

Acting Sub Lt. Somchai Ngamsuksawat, Director of the Ratchaburi Provincial Education Office, reported significant progress in the ‘Ratchaburi Zero Dropout’ initiative. In collaboration with the Equitable Education Fund (EEF) Thailand and Sansiri Public Company Limited, the initiative has successfully prevented 8,769 children aged 6-24 from dropping out of the education system. In the academic year 2024, Ratchaburi Province will be the first to officially announce the ‘Zero Dropout’ initiative. The Provincial Education Office, along with the three Educational Service Areas and the 10 districts, supported by a multidisciplinary mechanism involving various agencies and three volunteer groups (the Village Health Volunteers, Social Development and Human Security Volunteers, and Education Volunteers), will work collectively with entire province coverage to ensure no children or adolescents drop out of the system. This effort will utilize innovative approaches and mechanisms developed by Ratchaburi Province over the past three years.

Ratchaburi has pioneered flexible, student-centered educational innovations, with schools adopting three different models: formal, non-formal, and informal education, tailored to the individual needs of students. This semester, these initiatives will expand to cover all 350 affiliated schools under the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) across three Educational Service Areas. Furthermore, all 10 districts will enhance social protection systems to support children and adolescents in various dimensions, including physical health, mental health, social welfare, family, and education. Additionally, Case Management System (CMS) committees will collaborate with volunteer mechanisms, including the Village Health Volunteers, Social Development and Human Security Volunteers, and Education Volunteers, to identify and assist children and adolescents who are outside the education system in every community.