Thai student's suicide in Germanyprompts policy rethink

18th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

18 August 2004 , BANGKOK - The suicide of a 17-year-old Thai girl on a government scholarship in Mannheim, Germany, has prompted authorities to reconsider their recruitment and preparation systems under the study-abroad programme, a government spokesman said on Wednesday. Natchanon Mekhee jumped to her death on Friday from a hospital in Mannheim where she was already receiving threatment for overdosing on 40 painkillers, Thai government spokesman Jakrapob Penkair confirmed. The suicide was attributed to st

 18 August 2004

BANGKOK - The suicide of a 17-year-old Thai girl on a government scholarship in Mannheim, Germany, has prompted authorities to reconsider their recruitment and preparation systems under the study-abroad programme, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.

Natchanon Mekhee jumped to her death on Friday from a hospital in Mannheim where she was already receiving threatment for overdosing on 40 painkillers, Thai government spokesman Jakrapob Penkair confirmed.

The suicide was attributed to stress and homesickness.

Natchanon was one of 600 Thai students to receive a scholarship to study abroad, specifically in non-English speaking countries, under Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's "One District, One Scholarship" programme, designed to provide educational opportunities for the poor.

"The tragedy has provoked us to reconsider the process of sending them out," Jakrapob told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Thaksin instructed a cabinet meeting on Tuesday that the scholarship programme should include psychologists in the selection process for candidates in the future and provide them with more guidance and preparation for the foreign studies.

The government , however, has not changed its policy of targetting non-English speaking countries for its scholarships.

"We won't say it was the German language that killed her," said Jakrapob. "That was not the reason for the suicide. People can do anything if they are prepared appropriately."

Under Thaksin's "One District, One Scholarship" programme, launched last year, only students with good grade averages from poor families are eligible.

Thailand's elite tend to send their children to the U.S., Australia and England for higher education overseas, since English is the dominant second language in the country.

Altogether 82 students under the programme have reportedly chosen to study in Germany while 118 have chosen Japan, 164 France and the remainder the Netherlands, Sweden and China.

DPA

Subject: German news 

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