213 stateless students granted Thai nationality
Students previously unable to apply for scholarships or seek loans
By Piyarach Chongcharoen
A total of 213 stateless students can now enjoy the same rights as their peers after being granted Thai citizenship.
They are part of a group of 1,164 stateless students in Thong Pha Phum district who submitted application requests for Thai nationality to the district’s registry office.
The requests were approved by provincial governor Sujin Sriwichian based on the recommendation of a provincial committee handling the matter.
A ceremony, attended by the provincial governor and other local officials, was held to officially give them Thai identification cards.
The granting of citizenship is part of a Provincial Administration Department project under the Interior Ministry to help two groups of stateless students.
The first group are students under royal patronage and the second are students under the Office of the Basic Education Commission.
Officials are stepping up efforts to process the remaining Thai nationality requests so the students can have full access to their rights.
Thongdee Charoenpol, a student at Muban Chombueng Rajabhat University in Ratchaburi and one of those who received citizenship, said he was happy to be a Thai citizen.
Without Thai nationality, Mr Thongdee said he could not apply for scholarships and was not allowed to seek loans from the Student Loan Fund to support his education.
When he left the town of Kanchanaburi to study in the central province of Ratchaburi, he had to seek permission from officials, which made life difficult, he said.