Schools in parts of Thailand's violence-plagued southern province Pattani reopened Monday. Teachers were allowed to take weapons to protect their own safety.
According to Thai News Agency, schools in seven districts of Pattani, one of the three southernmost provinces in Thai south troubled by insurgent unrest, including the provincial seat resumed classes Monday after a one-week closure from Nov. 27 due to frequent attacks on teachers.
However, more than 100 schools in remote and violence-prone areas in the province remain closed. The teachers' confederation in Pattani said all schools in 12 districts will open on Wednesday.
School reopening depends on the decision of local school administrators. Some educational institutions may remain closed if they are not ready to resume classes due to lack of confidence in the government's ability to provide for the safety of teachers and staff, the report said.
Education Minister Wijit Srisaarn said he believed self-defense measures, including allowing teachers to carry guns, will be effective in protecting the teachers. The educators themselves will also help security officials look after their colleagues, according to Wijit.
He said the ministry has already increased teachers' allowance to boost their morale and promoted temporary teachers to officially become civil servants. Only a small number of teachers have applied for relocation, he said.