“Rice spaghetti and nam pla” school director dismissed pending disciplinary probe

The school director in Surat Thani’s Tha Chana district who fed school children with rice spaghetti and nam pla (fish sauce) as their lunch has been temporarily dismissed from service pending a disciplinary investigation.

Surat Thani governor Witchavuth Jinto signed the dismissal order for Mr Somchao Sitthichen, director of Ban Tha Mai school in Tambon Prasong, Tha Chana district on Tuesday as recommended by Mr Chumpol Srisung, the provincial educational chief.

Mr Chumpol told the media that the fact-finding panel found that complaints by parents against suspected corruption involving the school lunch programme of the school was grounded. He added that he then ordered a disciplinary probe against Mr Somchao and recommended to the government that the school director be temporarily dismissed from the service pending the probe which is expected to take about 30 days.

Fact-finding investigation has faulted the school director of five issues, including maintenance of electrical system at school did not correspond with regulation; double spending on road construction at school; self-pocketing of revenue from the sale of oil palm seeds of the school; provision of poor quality lunch for school children; and allowing sale of carbonated soft drinks in school which is prohibited by the Education Ministry.

Meanwhile, the provincial NACC office director said officials concerned were speeding up probe into alleged corruption in the school lunch programme at Ban Tha Mai school.

He said official record showed about 5,000 baht were withdrawn each day for the lunch programme, but only 3,000 baht were actually spent.