He said a party to welcome freshmen must be organised by each institution and supervised by administrators and teachers.
Activities at the party should be constructive, aimed at promoting ethics and morality as well as fine Thai traditions. More importantly, personal rights and freedoms must be respected and should not infringed upon, physically or mentally, Mr Pongthep said.
"Receptions for freshies at vocational institutes are a long-standing practice. A definite ban on such activities would only bring about resistance and the receptions would be secretly organised elsewhere.
"All activities must aim to forge good relations between senior students and freshmen, and to promote unity, discipline and respect for teachers," he added.
Mr Pongthep said vocational institutes should set up networks of students, parents and counsellors to oversee students' conduct and open a call centre providing information about the welcoming party at each institute.
This information should also be made available to the VEC's hotline number: 1156.
Waraporn Seehanart, deputy secretary-general of the VEC, said the commission had sent a letter to all vocational institutes informing them of the ban on off-campus receptions for freshmen.
Vocational institutes are notorious for hazing rituals, or initiations, aimed at students at the start of each new academic year, which often result in serious injuries to freshmen, and even death.
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