Reviews of National Policies for Education

1990-0198 (online)
1563-4914 (print)
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Reviews of National Policies for Education offer customised, in-depth analysis and advice to assist policy makers in developing and implementing education policy. Individual reviews can focus on a specific policy area, a particular level of education or a country’s entire education system. These reviews are conducted at the request of the country concerned.

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Education in Thailand

Education in Thailand

An OECD-UNESCO Perspective You do not have access to this content

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31 Aug 2016
9789264259119 (PDF) ;9789264259096(print)

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Thailand’s education system stands at a crossroads. Significant investment has widened access to education and the country performs relatively well in international assessments compared with its peers. But the benefits have not been universally distributed and Thailand has not received the return on its spending on education that it might have expected. This report encourages Thailand to focus on four priority areas to prepare students from all backgrounds for a fast-changing world. The first is to set clear, common standards for all students through a revised and improved curriculum. The second priority is to build capacity to reliably assess students across the full range of competencies needed for success in life and in learning. Third, Thailand needs to develop a holistic strategy to prepare teachers and school leaders to deliver education reform, including implementing the revised curriculum, and to tackle teaching shortages in the most deprived areas. The final challenge is to create a comprehensive information and communications technology strategy to equip all Thailand’s schools, teachers and students for the 21st century.

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  • Foreword and acknowledgements

    Thailand’s education system stands at a crossroads. As the country aims to move beyond the “middle-income trap”, it needs to build a highly skilled workforce, able to compete in the ASEAN economic community. Significant investment has widened access to education and Thailand performs relatively well in international assessments compared to its peers. However, the benefits have not been universally distributed and Thailand has not received the return on its investment in education that it might have expected. Too many poor children do not attend school altogether, and too many fail to reach the minimum standards needed for full participation in society. Thailand risks developing a two-tier education system – leaving children in poorer rural households behind.

  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary

    Thailand finds itself at a crossroads. In less than a generation, it has moved from a largely agrarian low-income society to an upper middleincome country and a key contributor to the economic growth of the Southeast Asian region. At the same time, Thailand has enacted major education reforms and invested a significant proportion of its national wealth into educating its youngest citizens. Overall participation rates in the school system are now high, particularly at the pre-primary and primary levels, and a large number of youth continue on to higher and professional education. However, not all sections of society have benefited equally from this expansion. Access and performance are particularly poor among children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those who live in rural areas.

  • Assessment and recommendations

    Over the past several decades, Thailand has moved away from a largely agrarian society, and become a middle-income nation with a relatively diversified economy. Education played an important role in this transformation. In recent years, Thailand has made sweeping reforms to its education system, notably with the 1999 National Education Act, in an effort to adapt to domestic and global changes and to support sustained economic growth. The country has also invested a comparatively large proportion of its national wealth in primary education, resulting in near universal access at that level.

  • Thailand's education system

    Thailand has made the transition from a largely agrarian, low-income society to an upper-middle income country and now faces the challenge of achieving sustainable growth in the face of a shrinking workforce and regional competition. This chapter outlines its demographics, economy, government and particularly its education system, including recent reform efforts and challenges.

  • The basic education system in Thailand: A comparative policy perspective

    This chapter outlines the basic education system in Thailand and compares it to two groups of benchmark countries – similar middle-income southeast Asian countries and high-income Asia-Pacific ones – on five key policy areas: inputs, access, processes, outcomes and efficiencies.

  • Thailand's education curriculum

    A clear, coherent and relevant curriculum is at the heart of any good education system. This chapter outlines the impact of Thailand’s switch from a content-based curriculum to a modern standards-based approach in 2001 and its revision in 2008. It identifies four policy issues hampering the effective implementation of Thailand’s curriculum reforms to improve student outcomes: 1) the quality of the curriculum document itself; 2) a lack of capacity among teachers and schools to implement the curriculum; 3) limited capacity to assess how well the curriculum has delivered its intended outcomes; and 4) weak use of existing review processes.

  • Student assessment in Thailand

    A well-balanced, high-quality student assessment framework yields data that can be used to improve the education system, inform teaching practices and help individual learners. This chapter describes Thailand’s extensive national standardised testing regime as well as assessments at classroom, school and local level. It identifies three policy issues impeding the effective use of assessment to improve student outcomes and fairness: 1) weak assessment capacity right across the education system; 2) the validity and comparability of Thailand’s national assessments; and 3) the narrow approach to assessment which fails to address the full range of the skills its students need.

  • Thailand's teachers and school leaders

    The quality of teachers and school leaders are the most important schoolrelated factors in student outcome. This chapter reviews Thailand’s teacher and principal preparation, licensing, assessment and continuing development policies and the structures and organisations that support them. It identifies five policy issues that may be preventing the development of a high-quality education profession: 1) inadequate teacher preparation programmes; 2) a lack of a strategic approach to teachers’ professional development; 3) administrative burdens keeping teachers away from the classroom; 4) no strategic framework to support the development of school leaders; and 5) a fragmented approach to data management and teacher deployment making it harder to tackle teacher shortages.

  • Thailand's information and communication technology in education

    Good information and communication technology (ICT) skills are essential for effective participation in today’s world. This chapter outlines Thailand’s ICT education policies and explores some of the reason why, despite significant investment, Thai students lag behind their peers in this area. It identifies five policy issues that may be holding Thailand back: 1) inequity in infrastructure provision; 2) limited digital learning materials relevant to the national curriculum; 3) teachers’ confidence and capacity to use ICT in the classroom; 4) lack of effective monitoring of ICT policies; and 5) no coherent framework for investment in ICT.

  • Contribution of stakeholders in Thailand

    The OECD and UNESCO review team would like to convey our sincere appreciation to the many participants who took time from their busy schedules to share their views, experience and knowledge during the review visits, which took place in June and November 2013 and February 2015.

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