Hundreds of thousands of teachers in Thailand, both working and retired, are suffering under severe debt. At the last count, some 900,000 teachers had incurred a total of 1.4 trillion baht in loans.
The Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) reports that 2,864 current and retired teachers under its wing have been prosecuted for defaulting on loan payments. Over 100,000 other teachers, including retirees, are spending more than 70% of their monthly salary on repaying loans.
The director of a small state-run school confirmed the scale of the problem, saying she had witnesses for herself how at least one third of her teaching staff were struggling to make ends meet.
“Not only do they owe money to teachers’ savings cooperatives, banks or credit-card companies, they have also borrowed from loan sharks,” she said, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect her school.