Novices pass uni exams, but still need help

by Sumeth Wannapruek, The Bangkok Post, May 30, 2008

KHON KAEN, Thailand -- Dozens of Buddhist novices in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen have passed university entrance examinations this year and are badly in need of funding to pursue a higher education.

Phra Kru Sirithammanithes, the abbot of Wat Srinual in Muang district, said 23 novices at Prapassorn Witthaya school have succeeded in getting into top universities such as Thammasat, Khon Kaen and Ubon Ratchathani.

The school is a Pariyatitham Buddhist school, offering both religious education and general education to novices.

Another 27 novices from other Buddhist schools in the province also passed the entrance exams.

The abbot said the novices are mostly from poor families or are orphans and being ordained as novices gave them access to education.

They were determined to further their education at universities and worked hard towards that goal.

"It is a shame that the novices who passed the exams lack the money to pursue a higher education," the abbot said.

Each year many novices in the province pass the university entrance exam and the temple gives them 80,000-200,000 baht each as initial funding, the abbot said.

However, the temple could not afford to support them all the way through university, he said.

Generous, wealthy people sometimes offer financial assistance to some novices, but other novices are still in need of money.

He said he would appreciate it if donations are made to support the education of the novices, who deserved a better chance in life and to overcome financial obstacles.