The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports Homepage of the World Education Forum
   Thailand
Contents of country report Homepage of country reports Country reports listed alphabetically Country reports by region



Next Page



Part I Descriptive Section

Introduction

Thailand has formulated a policy and framework for action on education for all in the 1992 National Education Scheme in compliance with the World Declaration on Education for All adopted by all UNESCO Member States during the World Conference on Education for All in March, 1990 at Jomtien, Chonburi, Thailand. The scheme aims at guiding all related agencies to implement their activities.

The World Declaration will have reached one-decade old in 2000 since its adoption. An assessment on education for all will be conducted to follow up the progress of the management of education for all in UNESCO Member States. UN agencies, namely, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, and the World Bank, have jointly published a Guideline for the Assessment as well as provided technical assistance to Member States.

In the past decade, Thailand’s attempts to implement activities in education for all have steadily progressed, particularly the extension of compulsory basic education from six to nine years. In 1998, the rate of the transition to lower and upper secondary education levels was approximately 90 % and it tends to be on a continual increase. The provision of pre-primary education was obviously extended as the number of school age children having obtained this level of education was relatively higher from 1990 to 68.64%. The approaches of the provision of this level of education are offered through the Community Child Care Centers, Child Care attached to temples and mosques, and other non-governmental agencies. The transitional rate to primary education is 91.32% with equal opportunity in terms of gender. These are some of the successful models of education for all representing the efforts of mobilizing relevant agencies to jointly render their resources to undertake the national activities in providing education for all.

In addition to such concerted efforts, Section 43 of the 1997 Constitution stipulates that all Thai citizens shall enjoy their right to education which will be provided by the government to all citizens at least twelve years of basic education with quality and free of charge. The 1999 National Education Act also legislates that compulsory education shall be extended from six to nine years and shall be completely undertaken within the year 2002. These policies reflect the models of education administration and management supporting the provision of education for all in compliance with the goals.

About 10% of the out-of-school youth, particularly the disadvantaged, require special needs to enable them to maintain in the formal education system. Both public and private agencies, have undertaken several projects to enable this group to access to formal education system. Consequently, some duplications and inequitable distribution of services were seen. Therefore, the assessment of EFA 2000 will help identify problems and solutions to ensure that the current education reform will yield maximum impacts in improving efficiency of education for all.

This report is made possible by the assistance of agencies relating to basic education for all, both central and regional offices under the Ministry of Education as well as other relevant agencies outside the Ministry of Education. Additionally, UNESCO has also rendered its technical and financial support to the Ministry while UNICEF has assisted in translating the report into English. The Thai Ministry of Education, as the focal point of the Assessment of EFA 2000, would like to express its sincere appreciation to all concerned and hope that this report would be of benefital to wider circles of readers.

The Ministry of Education,

Thailand, 1999

Part 1: History of the Education for All in Thailand

Chapter 1 Introduction

Thailand has realized that the development of education is very important to the improvement of quality of life to enable people to keep pace with rapid changes in society. Hence, the education system has been adjusted from the management in the palaces and temples to a schooling system, with specialized-trained teachers and designed plan and curriculum. This adjustment, however, was not enough for the demand for maximum development of people, community, locality and the country. The recent decade saw an attempt towards education reform with an aim to develop education management to make it more consistent with the country’s need. Some of the implementations according to this reform have met with a certain degree of success, but some are still in need of further practical application.

1.1 The Context of Education Management in Thailand

1.1.1 Structure of Education in Thailand

The structure of Education in Thailand covers formal and non-formal education and is divided as follows:

Formal Education: Undertaken by educational institutions, this category of education is stratified into classes or grades each with appropriate curriculum, so as to enable the learners to gain knowledge in accordance with the objectives of the curriculum. Education under this category is classified into 4 levels, namely pre-primary, primary, secondary and higher education.

1. Pre-primary is provided in the forms of nursery schools or kindergarten, child care centres or child development centres. This level of education is not compulsory but aiming at encouraging the preparation of readiness for young children before they enter primary schools. The age range of children under this category is three to five years.

2. Primary Education is compulsory according to the 1980 Primary Education Act. Children enroled in this level are usually between 6-8 years old and must spend at least 6 years studying at this level.

3. Secondary Education is divided into three years of lower secondary (12-14 years of age) and three years of upper secondary (15-17 years of age). This provides a good preparation for further study at higher education level or vocational level.

4. Higher Education is divided into post secondary education, graduate, and post graduate levels.

Non-formal Education or Lifelong Education: This type of education is provided for those missing an opportunity to enrol in formal education. Learners can obtain knowledge from a variety of sources. This category of education not only fills up what has been lacking in formal education but also provides an option, alleviating total dependency on formal education. It also opens the door for life long education. There is no age restraint for learners in this category . Their education can be undertaken at any time in their life.

1.1.2 Agencies Relevant to the National Provision of Education

The main agencies responsible for the provision of education consist of the Office of the National Education Commission, responsible for the formulation of national education policy and planning, and the Ministry of Education, responsible for the provision of basic education. Departments under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education are: Office of the National Primary Education Commission, Department of General Education, Office of Private Education Commission and Department of Non-Formal education (responsible for the provision of education to those over 15 years of age who have more or less missed an opportunity to obtain formal education).

Other agencies in addition to those under the Ministry of Education include the Ministry of Interior (responsible agencies are: Department of Community Development, Local Education Administration Office, Border Patrol Police Command, Bangkok Municipality Administration (BMA), Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (with the Department of Public Welfare as core office). Moreover, there are agencies which provide education in particular courses for their own personnel, such as the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Public Health, etc.

1.1.3 Curriculum/ Teaching-Learning Process and Assessment

Education provides an opportunity for human beings to improve a better quality of life to enable them to live together in peace and harmony, and to be capable of adjusting themselves under different circumstances and changes in society. The provision of education is therefore aimed at providing a balanced focus in 4 areas of man’s life: intellectual, mental, physical and social.

The provision of basic education starting from primary to upper secondary levels does not focus only on strengthening knowledge and developing ability. However, the curriculum developed for all levels of education provides the learners with an opportunity for self-preparation to live in harmony with others in society, be capable of earning a living or working in jobs suitable to ability. This applies to both compulsory and selective courses of study depending on each individual’s interest.

The 1978 Primary Education Curriculum (Revised 1990) focuses more on the process than the substance. The structure of the curriculum stresses the development of the learner to have knowledge, skills, values - skills in thinking and problem solving, awareness of the value of learning , ability to apply the lessons to daily life. The structure/substance of the primary education curriculum is made up of 5 learning experience groupings as follows: basic skills (consisting of Thai language, mathematics), life experiences, character development (habits, morality, art, physical education, music and dance), habit-forming activities (boy/girl scouts, girl guides, young Red Cross volunteers), work-oriented experiences (housework, agricultural work, selected work), and special experience, dealing with activities based on learners’ interests. This last category will not be taken as criteria for the final grading but there will be assessment and evaluation to measure the progress made. In order to enhance the achievement of the course in response to the demands of the community, participation from the community is required in the development of the curriculum and teaching and learning medium.

The 1978 Lower Secondary Education Curriculum (Revised in 1990) places an emphasis on the process of thinking and practice. Reduction has been made as regards to compulsory subjects and an increase is made in free elective subjects in order to allow the learners to have more choices in selecting general and vocational subjects. There are study sessions for independent activities that will lead the learners toward their actual aptitude, ability and interest.

The curriculum structure consists of core subjects which are: Thai, science, mathematics, social sciences, physical health, art studies; prescribed elective subjects: social sciences, physical health, work; free elective subjects: languages, mathematics and science, and social science subject groups; personality development subject group consisting of physical health and art studies; and other subject groups such as work and occupation: production, service, production and service supplementary, and practice on independent occupation during schooling such as occupational training. Additionally, the students will have to undertake 3 other groups of activities, i.e. activities as prescribed by the Ministry, guidance and counseling or problem solving and the student’s own activity.

The 1981 Upper Secondary Education Curriculum (Revised in 1990) contained more flexibility in the structure. It focused on the application in various areas depending on policy and objectives of development and local needs. It promotes teaching and learning process that focuses on actual practices, aiming at developing quality of life, knowledge, ethics and special skill according to the student’s potential, to enhance such student to be a useful member of the community in accordance with his/her own knowledge, ability and his/her role as applied by innovative trends and methodologies.

The course structure is composed of compulsory subjects (core subjects: Thai, social study, physical health; prescribed elective subjects: physical health, science, basic knowledge on occupation; free elective subjects: languages, social sciences, personality development, science and mathematics and occupations). Additionally, the students will have to undertake three other groups of activities, i.e. those organized in accordance with the regulations of the Ministry; guidance and counseling activities; and independent activities of learners.

A Non-formal Course in Vocational Education is provided for those who have completed primary grade 1 but miss an opportunity to remain in schooling system. The course aims at instilling a sense of responsibility for ownself, community and the country with an emphasis on Thai values. Students should be able to seek and apply available knowledge and technological skills to improve a better quality of life and job. They should be able to truly understand the whole extent of their occupation, themselves and their society. They should also be capable of selecting and developing appropriate career. They should be able to create innovative ideas or develop experiences to supplement the income and conduct their behaviors in connection with the occupation as well as to lead a decent and moralistic life.

1.1.4 Major Resources in Education Management

Teacher: Teachers play a vital role in the wide coverage provision of Education For All among target groups. Diversity whether in terms of management or accessibility of target areas poses no obstacles that cannot be overcome. Teachers will always serve as the torch bearers - to hand over knowledge and ideas to the community. They will act as parents to the students. They may be called under different names: teachers on horseback, volunteer teachers, border-patrol police teachers, road-side teachers, hill-top teachers, yet they play no different role from those of Thai teachers in general.

In 1990 school year, Thailand had a total number of 39,811 educational institutions of various types with approximately 12 million students from all levels of education and 386,908 classrooms. The student-classroom ratio was 32:1. The total number of teachers was 577,272. The teacher-pupil ratio was 1:21. Most of the teachers were general education teachers, accounting for 89.5 per cent of teachers from all categories.

Budget: In 1980, the budget for education in Thailand was only 3.4 % of GNP. When compared to that of developed countries (the U.S.- 6.7%; U.K. - 5.6%) or even fellow developing countries (e.g. Malaysia - 6.0%), this is considerably on the low side.

During the above-mentioned year, budget for education was 19.3% of the total national budget. In 1990, it was reduced to only 17.9%. The budget downsizing is another reason for the sluggishness in basic education development. Later governments, however, have begun to realize the significance of education and have allocated higher budget for education.

1.2 Problems of Education in Thailand

The First to Sixth National Economic and Social Development Plans focused on the production of manpower to meet the demands for country development. The 7th and 8th plans (1992-1996 and 1997-2002) have been adjusted to concentrate on human as the center of development. Educational development plan was also set up in consistency with the national development plan. In the evaluation of the problems and obstacles connecting with the management of education during the initial stage of the 7th National Economic and Social Development Plan, it was found out that:

1) Equality of Education

The coverage of compulsory education is not fully complete due to inaccessibility of some areas or poverty of the parents causing the students to be without educational equipment, uniform and daily lunch. Some parents move away frequently from their former homes, some want to keep their children at home to help lessen their workload, and many others. Despite the government’s effort in extending and improving educational opportunities, the goal has not yet been fully achieved. Since the programme had not been included in the national plan, budget for the implementation was not allocated. Responsible agencies had to eke out money from ordinary budget meant for regular duties, causing the programme to be less flexible. A line of division of responsibilities among government departments was not clearly established. Education for the disabled was not fully and widely provided because of insufficiency of data on different types of disabilities to plan and allocate the budget ahead. In addition, teachers are not appropriately trained to have teaching skills for each specific type of students with special needs. Teaching equipments are not also sufficient for providing special education.

2) Quality of Education

Students’ achievement in some classes do not yet reach the standard, such as in mathematics and life experience at primary education level, or science at the secondary education level. Problems on the management of higher education include lack of quality instructors in some vocational and university level subjects, such as engineering and computer management. The number of graduates in such subjects is still limited. Graduates in such subjects prefer to join, after their graduation, the private sector to the government sector. Moreover, training of technicians is not effective due to the obsolete equipments.

3) Education for Ethics Promotion

The ethics education does not have a clear structure but relies on the teachers. Some teachers are not knowledgeable enough and cannot measure the extent of preparedness and willingness in the mind of the students. A lack of continuity exists among the coordination of ethics instillation in the family, classroom and society. A wide gap exists between each level of education. Ethics education in primary level is different from that of the secondary level and at home. There is no specific model for students to duplicate their behaviors.

4) Lifelong Education

Although many agencies are responsible for non-formal education, the coverage has not met the demands. There are youth and adults ready for the service throughout the country, particularly in rural areas. However, the provision of skills and vocational training and development does not yet meet the demands due to the insufficiency of information and data. It also prevents relevant agencies to plan and organize appropriate courses for individual community. Problems also exist in term of disparities of the quality of the course offered by different agencies, coordination and joint planning among agencies.

5) Education for Economic Development

Education at primary and secondary levels is not enough to produce graduates capable of earning their own living in the community. There is ,however, a lack of instructors with appropriate qualification as well as well-written and easy-to-follow instructional textbooks or manuals with which real practices can be brought about. In some vocational schools, there are not enough qualified teachers to handle courses desirable to the labor market which creates a serious problem to the system.

The promotion of students’ earning can be done in a limited extent. Despite the promotion of cooperatives, the focus is on the theories rather than on actual practices. Activities organized to help solve problems and develop the community offer little or no participation from the students. Most of them are organized on periodic basis such as a campaign for good deeds on certain commemorative days. The curriculum of each level stresses the contents as prescribed in the course but it cannot fathom its effectiveness in the mind and behavior of the students.

6) Health Education

A certain number of primary school students is underweight comparing to the standard of the Ministry of Public Health which reflects the problem of health education. The family’s economy level and the culture of the family may not correspond to the rules of nutrition and health. Lessons in health education tend to focus on sports calibre, aiming at producing champions more than to create an awareness on personal health. Thus the students do not realize the values of physical exercises and sports activities for the sake of their values on health.

Thailand is now aware of the above problems and realizes that there is an urgent need for education opportunity expansion, lifelong continuing education and skills training to improve a better quality of life. In the 1990 National Education Plan, guidelines and measures for practice were established in the plan of action on Education for All which will be discussed later on.

Chapter 2 Policy and Goals of Education for All in Thailand

2.1 Background

Changes in various aspects such as social, economic, political, cultural, environmental, scientific and technological, have given rise to the necessity of upgrading and developing basic knowledge of the people in the country. These changes also encourage a new concept of basic education for all with a more emphasis on the responsiveness to basic learning needs of human beings and a more self development in a continuous and qualitative way. In this regard, Thailand, in the World Conference on Education for All in 1990 at Jomtien, adopted the World Declaration on Education for All which aiming at achieving in 6 dimensions as follows:

      1. Expansion of early childhood care and developmental activities, including family and community interventions, especially for poor, disadvantaged and disabled;
      2. Universal access to, and completion of, primary education (or whatever higher level of education is considered as basic) by the year 2000;
      3. Improvement in learning achievement such that an agreed percentage of an appropriate age cohort (e.g., 80 percent of 14 year-olds)attains or surpasses a defined level of necessary learning achievement;
      4. Reduction of the adult illiteracy rate (the appropriate age group to be determined in each country) to, say, one-half its 1990 level by the year 2000, with sufficient emphasis on female literacy to significantly reduce the current disparity between male and female illiteracy rates;
      5. Expansion of provisions of basic education and training in other essential skills required by youth and adults, with programme effectiveness assessed in terms of behavioral changes and impacts on health, employment and productivity;
      6. Increased acquisition by individuals and families of the knowledge, skills and values required for better living and sound and sustainable development, made available through all education channels including the mass media, other forms of modern and traditional communication, and social action, with effectiveness assessed in terms of behavioral change.

2.2 Implementation of Plan of Action

After the adoption of the Jomtien Declaration, the Government assigned the Office of the National Education Commission to draft a National Plan on Education for All and the Plan was approved by the Cabinet on November 9, 1994. Concerned ministries and government agencies draged an individual plan of action for their respective agencies according to the national plan of action. Monitoring and evaluation were undertaken with the aim to study the outcome of the implementation of EFA and to identify problems and obstacles. The outcomes of the assessment has been analyzed to develop the provision of basic education for all in a more effective approach.

2.2.1 Goals and Guidelines for Action Plans

Thailand has established goals and major action plans for the provision of basic education as follows:

Goals

Guidelines for Action Plans

1. To expand educational services in order to promote literacy for all males and females age 14-50, by the year 2001

  1. To expand basic education in various forms in compliance with the solutions of the problems and limitations to enable people in rural areas, highlands and border areas to access to education.
  2. To expand supportive services to increase literacy rate.
  3. To campaign on mobilizing all partners to participate in eliminating literacy.

2. To expand educational services before 2001, enabling all students graduating from the elementary level to continue their education through the lower secondary level.

  1. To expand educational services at lower secondary level to allow at least 97% of students completing primary education level to contimue their study in secondary level in 2001.
  2. To provide more flexible and diverse education system to enable each community to develop the education according to specific local needs.
  3. To create awareness of the importance of the enrolment in lower secondary education among people.
  4. To improve quality of the educational institutions and education at the lower secondary level.

3. To expand by at least 2.5 times the current levels by the year 2001, all educational services for the disadvantaged, particularly the disabled, children from impoverished families, children in remote and rural areas, the culturally disadvantaged, homeless children, child labourers, underprivileged females and non-naturalized children.

  1. To create database on the disadvantaged at the local to national levels.
  2. To expand basic educational services and develop diversed and proper methods of education to enable a wider coverage to all target groups.

4. To increase child rearing services for preschool children by the year 2001, so that they receive readiness preparation at least 1 year before entering elementary school

  1. To expand early childhood care services to cover all children particularly in remote areas and congested areas all over the country.
  2. To improve the quality of early childhood care services.

5. To broadly and consistently expand the training services available to families emphasizing proper child rearing, childhood nutritional needs and normal psychological development

  1. To support educational institutions and other agencies both public and private to provide education and training on family emphasizing proper child rearing, in terms of physical, mental, and intellectual.
  2. To disseminate information and knowledge on family education, sex education, child care through mass media.

 

6. To expand the implementation of activities to promote students’ physical development allowing them to reach the standards set for each age group, by the year 2000
  1. To encourage students, particularly the disadvantaged, to obtain appropriate nutritional food.
  2. To expand and improve the quality of health services, environment and sanitation in school.
  3. To encourage students to have access to regular and continuous sports and physical exercises.

7. To develop student’s learning capabilities in the areas of: self-learning, creative thinking and basic academic learning, e.g. Thai language and mathematics

  1. To develop teaching and learning methods to enable students to be initiative, creative, and capable of self-learning.
  2. To develop teaching and learning methods of Thai language, science, mathematics to enable the achievement of the goals of the curriculum.
  3. To support gifted students in Thai language, science, and mathematics to obtain an opportunity to develop their potential in these areas.
  4. To disseminate knowledge and information on Thai language, science and technology to children and young people on a continuous basis.

8. To campaign for the development of ethics/morality and desirable characteristics of the people, and to expand extensively the implementation of activities promoting development of the same characteristics in young learners.

  1. To encourage educational institutions and mass media to take part in the development of ethics, morality, and desirable characteristics of the people.
  2. To mobilize the participation of the community and mass media in organizing supplementary activities to promote the development of ethics, morality, and desirable characteristics of he people.
  3. To support actions on the development and promotion of ethics, morality, and desirable characteristics of the people.

9. To establish a learning network with information links available to the public, private sector, and the local community, to be used as a resource and as as aid in order to promote and encourage learning and development.

  1. To establish a learning network with information links available to public and private sectors.
  2. To promote the local community to establish internal teaching-learning process and exchange the knowledge among communities.
  3. To enhance the transfer of knowledge and information to the public and the community to enable lifelong learning.
  4. To encourage the dissemination of knowledge and information about the media to students to enable them to make appropriate selection of useful information.

Thailand recognized the importance of the provision of education to the disadvantaged and those missing educational opportunity. Major target groups are;

      1. The handicapped.
      2. The drop-outs.
      3. The 0-6 year-olds.
      4. The low income group.
      5. The underprivileged in congested communities.
      6. Street children and youth.
      7. Child labour.
      8. Women.
      9. Children without nationality.
      10. Those living in remote areas and inaccessible areas.
      11. The culturally disadvantaged.
      12. Parents.
      13. The old.
      14. Youth and adults obtaining education lower than the standard.

2.2.2 Strategies and Action Plan

The following strategies aim to create education of all and for all:

1) Mobilizing all partners to have involvement in providing basic education for all.

      1. Decentralizing the management of education to local authorities.
      2. Providing dynamic basic education for all since the current situations have been rapidly changed.
      3. Providing integration of tradition knowledge and local wisdom into modern knowledge to enable options of education.
      4. Providing interaction education so that students will be able to learn about their communities and exchange their knowledge among communities.
      5. Allocating sufficient budget to place more important in basic education rather than other levels of education.
      6. The 1992 National Education Plan identified the substance and strategies of the action plans to set up long term action plans of education provision, particularly in basic education as follows;

        1) To enhance basic education as belonging to the people and for the people, the following strategies are established:

                                        a) Encourage all pre-school children to obtain at least 1 year pre-school education before gaining entry to primary         education.

b) Provide wide and thorough coverage of compulsory education, making it accessible and easy-to-obtain for the students. Government and local schools provide education for free. Any compulsory education is provided according to the law on education specially promulgated.

c) Provide secondary education as EFA. The state shall strengthen the extension of EFA at least to upgrade the quality of life of its people.

d) Support education extension to cover the socially and economically disadvantaged and those with physical, intellectual, mental and emotional disability.

        2) Upgrading the quality of education and the provision of EFA.

a) Provide education and encourage child upbringing beneficial to children according to age requirement starting from conception, and the development of desirable characteristics.

b) Reform teacher training and develop regular teachers focusing on the development of special vocational subjects to create awareness among teachers; encourage development of standardized knowledge and ability both as teachers and their technical knowledge; upgrade the status of teaching profession.

c) Improve the substance and teaching-and-learning process in all levels and all categories of education to comply with the objectives of education as established.

d) Encourage learners in all levels, as well as the general public to be able to use the Thai language appropriately and correctly for communication, creativity and development of thinking, knowledge, and the maintenance of the culture of the country.

e) Promote the study of foreign languages that enhance extensive national development for the benefit of research and communication in the areas of technical know-how, commerce, international relations and cultural exchange.

f) Promote research and development to create innovation, education technology and knowledge components in various sciences beneficial to development of contents and substance of teaching-and-learning process and encouragement of learning

g) Encourage the study of monks, novices, priests and religious personnel to make them good examples and leaders in instilling personal ethics, morality and values appropriate to society.

                          3) Creation of network of learning for life-long education of the People.

a) Set up the network of learning to provide wider scope of learning to the people for life-long continuing education.

b) Promote and support the introduction of modern technology into educational service extension for rapid knowledge dissemination and exchange.

4) EFA mobilization

a) Promote and support the role of family, community, other social institutions and mass media in the participation of the process of study, conservation and development of natural resources, environment, local culture and intellect.

b) Encourage private sector to provide education at all levels in a free, flexible, and self-supporting management, with technical and resource support to facilitate the operation and certification of standard achieved.

c) Mobilize, allocate and utilize educational resources in a fair and efficient way.

2.2.3 Monitoring of the Implementation.

Due to the fact that there are many agencies concerned with EFA , each one of which differ in their provision of activities at the local,

provincial and central levels, monitoring and evaluation of EFA implementation plan shall be as follows:

Monitoring Information and data collection from reports of various agencies will be done on an annual basis. In these reports can be

found the data and indexes on the situation of EFA, its implementation of activities as prescribed in the educational plan and policy, as well as the outcome of the operation, problems and obstacles. This information and data shall be reported according to the guidelines and style prescribed by the sub-committee on monitoring and evaluation.

Evaluation Some data used in the evaluation may be obtained from the monitoring and annual report, some from the monitoring of

specific programmes prescribed in the policy of the government. These are both vertical and horizontal and cover all levels and types of education.

2.3 Recent Achievements

The government provided an opportunity for all concerned to participate in education for all to jointly assist in expanding this level of education to

remote areas. Furthermore, UN agencies, namely, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, and the World Bank have cooperated in supporting technical and financial assistance to education for all. In consistency with the EFA Declaration, Thailand has carried out EFA programs in two stages:

1995-1996: formulating the national policy, setting up goals, strategies, plans, mechanism, allocating budget to EFA programs, disseminating EFA information and data, and submitting a five-year report on EFA.

1997-present: assessing the results of the implementation to identify progress and promising strategies. The 1997 Constitution of Thailand stipulates that the government shall expand basic education to at least twelve years. Additionally, the 1999 National Education Act legislates that the government shall provide nine years of compulsory education. The disabled and the disadvantaged will also be provided with education according to their own potential.

The following definitions will be used in EFA plan of operation:

Education For All means education to enhance life with good quality which is imbued with proper ethics necessary for

harmonious coexistence in society with happiness, knowledge, skill in lifelong and continuing search for knowledge, adaptability to future changes in society, capability in earning a living, self-reliance and with dignity and ability for self-development, responsibility and willingness to participate in the development of the society in an appropriate manner.

The Disadvantaged Group means groups of people in society, particularly children and youth in especially difficult circumstances (CEDC) including street children, disabled children, child prostitutes, drug addicts, beggars, educational disadvantaged children and those who are deprived of the opportunity to receive relevant government services.

Education for Disadvantaged Children means education for children and youth whose rights have been violated, deserted children, children with inappropriate behavior, mentally and physically handicapped children. They will be provided with basic primary and secondary education and other category of education necessary for their livelihood and their dignified return to society.

Lifelong Education means education resulting from integration of formal, non-formal, and informal education so as to create ability for continuous lifelong development of quality of life.

2.4 Resource

The government plays an important role in providing the support and

Encouragement to all agencies both public and private agencies. One of the main factors to advice the goal of education is the financial support from the government, as the major investor in education, should prioritize the cost-effectiveness, efficacy, effectiveness in the allocation, management and decentralization of education budget to enhance educational opportunity equality and fairness to all citizen of the country.

2.4.1 Government-budget

During the last decade, government budget allocation has been relatively high comparing to gross national product (GNP), (the average of 3.5 % of GNP and approximately 25 % of the national budget.) During 1990-1999, an increase of 15 % a year has been given to educational budget, the highest was in 1997 when 202,864 million baht or 4.3 % of GNP was allocated for education achieving. After the economic downturn in Thailand, the government had to cut down educational budget in 1998 at of 0.57 % (See Annex A Table 5) to control over the capital invested in the provision of education by the government. This is the first time in the history that educational budget of a particular year was lower than that in the previous years.

The government budget on education is annually allocated for the following: teaching-and learning support, development of the quality of education, formal and non-formal education services, pre-primary education, support to further compulsory education which is also basic education, support to education to the physically-handicapped and the disadvantaged, provision of textbooks, stationery, uniform, scholarships, lunch programme, supplementary food (milk) to pre-school and primary school children, support to the extension of non-formal education, provision of technical and financial support to private schools for their development of standards educational and support to higher education institutes to researches and development in various areas of their excellence. In fiscal year 1999, the government also provided support to the education of monks by establishing, for the first time, two ecclesiastical universities for the monks.

The government provides the greatest share of budget to primary education because "it is compulsory education aiming at laying a firm foundation for students to develop desirable characters : moral, ethical, with basic knowledge and ability, literacy and numeracy skills. The policy is to provide a full coverage of quality and accessible education to the learner". On the average of 44 per cent of the total budget for education during 1990-1999 has been earmarked for primary education and the trend has been on the increase, from 30,589.6 million baht in 1990 to 81,662.4 million baht in 1999. with an increase of budget per head for the student on the average of 18.33 percent per year (Annex A. Table 5).

Government expenditure in education can be divided into two categories: operation and capital. On the operation side, the budget consists : salaries and wages, non-salary compensation comprising casual payment, remuneration, miscellaneous expenditure and materials, public utilities, supportive funds and other expenses. The budget allocated to capital consists of: equipment, land and construction. It was found out that 75% of the total expense on education in Thailand is for salaries and regular wages. However, although a high percentage of the budget is spent on teachers’ salaries. Thai teachers, comparing to those in other developed or developing countries, still receive very low pay.

Report on the Situation of Thai Education 1997. P. 87 With the high percentage of expenditure on salaries and regular wages, the government is not left with much money to deal with other areas of educational development, such as in the development of teaching and learning quality.

In addition to the expenditure provided to educational institutions for the operation and investment, the government also allocates a certain amount of budget for those enrolling in government educational institutions. This category is classified as follows:

Basic expenditure : tuition fee and educational equipment.

Special expenditure: textbooks, uniforms, supplementary food (milk), luncheon and transportation.

At present, the government has provided exemption on the basic expenditure (tuition fee) to those in primary classes at government schools as well as in lower secondary classes in government extended opportunity schools. The government also allots a certain amount of budget for educational equipment for those in educational institutions in any level. Special expenses (textbooks, uniforms, supplementary food i.e. milk, lunch --as prescribed in the Fund for Lunch in Primary Schools Act 1993 – and transport), incurred in attending school, the government has also allocated expenses for each category depending on the target groups and their necessity. How much is the payment depends on the level of education.

In addition, there are other types of government support for EFA, for instance: the setting up of loans for study on offer to impoverished students, beginning in academic year 1996; loans from Asian Development Bank (ADB ) on offer to the Thai Government. Part of them have been used for assisting students who are facing with economic problems during the economic crisis so that they can continue their studies.

However, problems still exist in the allocation of fund for education, especially in the Ministry of Education which is the core agency overseeing it. Outstanding problems on centralization are delay, duplication of work and complexity of the distribution of budget to regional places. Requests for approval of expenditure entail a great deal of red tape. The budget itself remains to be spent mostly with the central area, causing unfair and ineffective distribution of resources.

2.4.2 Budget Support for Private Education

The Office of the Private Education Commission oversees this type of

education at all levels, be they pre-primary, primary, secondary, or vocational. The office acts as the central body executing the part of budget received from the government to assist in the capital outlay of private education. All private institutions are entitled to financial support. Tuition fee can be fixed by themselves but not exceeding the limit established by the government. Private institutions which have opted out for not applying for financial support tend to have more freedom in their administration. They, however, still have to be registered and comply with the basic rules and regulations set up by the Ministry of Education.

In 1998, the percentage of students enrolling in private school was as follows: pre-primary 24.17%, primary schools 13.29%, secondary schools 6% of the total number of students enrolled. The highest percentage is in pre-primary level since the service offered by the government in this category is not adequate. The government has taken measures to encourage the private sector and the community to participate more in providing this category of education. Financial and technical assistance is given for pre-primary education. Nevertheless, the comparison among Thailand and other countries shows that investment in Thailand for private education is still much lower than that in other developed and semi-developed countries such as U.S.A, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Statistics from the Office of Private Education Commission also illustrates that the total tuition fee for private education at all levels accounted for 12,900 million baht in 1995 or 0.3% of GNP, more than 10 times lower than that of the government sector which was about 3.5 % of GNP.

2.4.3 Investment in the Management of Non-formal Education

A great number of people do not have the opportunity to be educated at the appropriate time. This kind of opportunity loss has caused EFA not to achieve its goal, Thailand has not ignored or overlooked the people belonging to this group. On the contrary, it has invested a great deal to provide non-formal education to those people, be they those deprived of the opportunity to study, those who missed the opportunity or those educationally under-served. The Department of Non-Formal Education (DNFE), Ministry of Education, acts as the core agency for quality management of this category of education by which every Thai citizen shall be provided with lifelong quality education in accordance with his own preparedness and requirement. Service for knowledge is provided to people in all target groups: the disabled, the under-served, women, in-service military personnel, detainees, etc. The service provided are multi-faceted, i.e. basic functional education, continuing general education, skill training, and informal education with focus on education through every type of media such as mass media, satellite, electronic media, information and data acquired through public libraries, learning centres, village reading centres, science centres, etc.

The budget for the Department of Non-formal Education has been increased every year, from 1,384.4 million baht in 1992 to 2,896.76 million baht in 1999, accounting for about 0.05 % of GNP which is a rather low proportion. However, the outcome of the operation by the Department of Non-formal Education has been highly satisfactory, even higher than the target set by the department itself. The DNFE has continuously undertaken the development of the administration and network of various NFE outlets and target groups. In 1994, 2.1 million persons belonged to the target group and in 1995, this has been increased to 3 million persons.


Contents Next Page