Catholic educators in Thailand launched on Monday, July 26, a series of webinars that aims to respond to the call of Pope Francis for the implementation of relevant education.
“The aim is to provide awareness of the message of Pope Francis,” said Father Akarat Homprathum, secretary general of the Catholic Education Council of Thailand (CECT), an organization of more than 300 schools and colleges in the country.
In October last year, Pope Francis called on all “people of goodwill” and every sector of society to support the “Global Compact on Education,” a pact to encourage change on a global scale, so that education may become a creator of “fraternity, peace, and justice.”
The compact, which is sponsored by the Congregation for Catholic Education, aims “to ensure that everyone has access to a quality education consonant with the dignity of the human person and our common vocation to fraternity.”
“This is the first in a series of virtual meetings,” said Father Homprathum on Monday, adding that the online activity in Thailand aims to reconstruct in the country’s schools the “educational paths for the realization of the pact.”
More than a thousand Catholic school administrators and teachers, including diocesan heads for education and superiors of religious congregations that run and manage schools in Thailand, attended the meeting.
Cardinal Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanich, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand, stressed the pope’s call to pay attention, in the process of education, to “grave social injustice, violations of rights, terrible forms of poverty.”
“The Holy Father wants the integral process to take into consideration the problems that beset young people today, including the scourge of violence, the abuse of minors, as well as the sufferings endured by our planet,” said the cardinal.
Cardinal Kriengsak reminded participants about Pope Francis’ call to make Catholic educational and academic institutions available to everyone, including non-Christian communities.
Chainarong Monthienvichienchai, a senior Catholic school executive in Bangkok, said the “Global Compact on Education” is meant to encourage change on a global scale.
He pointed out the pope’s emphasis on the adverse impact of the pandemic on educational systems worldwide.
In his October address, the pope noted that online educational platforms brought to light the disparity in educational and technological opportunities, forcing some ten million children to leave school, apart from the estimated 250 million school-age children excluded from educational activities.
Chainarong said that in Thailand alone this school year, more than 600,000 students have been excluded from schools due to effects of the global health crisis.
The next webinar is scheduled in October and will feature schools that will share their attempts to implement the “Global Compact on Education.”