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Education in Thailand

An OECD-UNESCO Perspective

image of Education in Thailand

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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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.

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