In a move that belies Thailand's easy-going reputation, Education Minister Sukhavich Rangsitphol has supported a ban on homosexuals training as teachers. He said it was 'nonsense' for critics to say people's human rights were being breached when the country's future was at stake. The Rajabhat Institute which runs Thailand's 36 teacher-training colleges caused an uproar when it recently announced it would not accept gay trainees. The institute's president, Sirot Phonphanthin, said although he normally opposed discrimination against gays they would be poor role models for vulnerable minds. The lesbian rights group Acharee protested that if the 'education mafia' really was concerned about creating a good impression it should stop teachers falling into debt. Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said on Monday that many teachers were living way beyond their means. 'They are supposed to be gods of the mind - not the body,' he said. He said he would keep his election campaign promise to help the nation's teachers, who are thought to have run up debts totalling US$3 billion (HK$23.2 billion). But he warned they would have to rein in their spending.