Lecturers oppose use of Section 44 for appointments of university execs

A total of 260 lecturers of universities throughout the country have issued a statement to oppose the invocation of Section 44 of the 2014 interim constitution to make way for outsiders to be appointed executives of state universities.

Scholars who signed the statement included Anan Kanchanaphan of Chiang Mai University, Saichol Sattayanurak of Chiang Mai University, Charnvit Kasetsiri of Thammasat University’s Southeast Asian Study and Kasian Tejapira of Thammasat University’s faculty of political science.

Under an order issued on Aug 9 by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, in his capacity as chairman of the National Council for Peace and Oder (NCPO), persons who are not civil servants or employees of higher education institutions can now be appointed rectors, deputy rectors, assistant rectors and heads of faculties or equivalent agencies of state universities.

The order cited past problems over the appointments of executives to handle the administration of state universities, saying that they had obstructed education reform.

The statement issued by university lecturers said that the NCPO order demonstrates the use of power by a government installed by the military to interfere in the administrations of state universities, which already have their own rules and regulations.

The order is not only unjustified but also has been issued without consulting lecturers and executives of the country’s institutions of higher education.

The order, which paves the ways for outsiders to be appointed executives of universities, has led to suspicion that higher education institutions of Thailand may be used as political tools in the future, said the statement.

The statement went on that such an NCPO order is a continued attempt by the government from a coup to interfere in the independence of universities. It called the abolition of this NCPO order.