Religions and Education are Inseparable, Junta No. 2 Says

Monks gather alms at Government House on Dec. 1, 2016, during a Buddhist ceremomy to make merit for the late King Bhumibol.

BANGKOK — The deputy chairman of the junta on Saturday urged education officials to increase focus on religions in their teaching curriculum.

Education skill sets that lacked religious guidance risk being misused in corrupt manners, Gen. Prajin Jantong said at a seminar about religion and education at Parliament House. He’s the latest regime leader to make use of conservative rhetoric in the name of social cohesion under military rule.

“Religions and education are important and inseparable,” Gen. Prajin said. “So I would like to urge everyone and every relevant authority to develop our citizens to have both religions and education.”

Read: Thai Junta Leader Says His Teachings ‘Compatible’ With All Religions

The junta’s no. 2 was speaking at a panel organized by the regime’s rubber stamp parliament. He said a lack of morality and religion leads to corruption.

“Having only education to increase one’s knowledge, ability and talent is not enough,” he said. “Because they may use that knowledge in a wrong way and take advantage of other people, for example, engaging in corruption. So it necessary to also have religions.”

Thailand is overwhelmingly Buddhist, while Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and other faiths comprise a minority. There’s also a small number of atheists and irreligious people.

While the constitution does not endorse a state religion, it emphasizes Buddhism as the adopted faith. Certain institutions and laws have been established to promote the Buddhist religion.

Apart from a focus on religions, Prajin said schools should also teach their students to appreciate “Thainess.”

The junta routinely calls for morality campaigns to promote public order. Shortly after taking power in May 2014, junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha famously penned “Twelve Values” he wanted Thai children to follow.

Just last month, the general scoffed at an 18-year-old country singer for her signature twerking dance moves, saying they were against Thai culture.

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Teeranai Charuvastra can be reached at teeranai@khaosodenglish.com and followed on Twitter at @teeranai_c. He began working for Khaosod newspaper in 2012 before switching to Khaosod English in late 2013. His interests include politics, crime, the monarchy and the latest Naga sightings.