|The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports|
Part 3 Future Plans
Chapter 6: Awareness of Government and Participation of Private Sector
.1 Government Awareness:
The proclamation of the new constitution in 1997 has made a dramatic change in education. Section 43 of the Constitution stipulates that A person shall enjoy an equal right to obtain 12 years of basic education at the minimum, with quality and free of charge. In addition, the 1999 National Education Act has stirred up educational reform as a whole, providing the government sector with the impetus to strengthen its action in every aspect to be in accord with the objectives of the constitution and the National Education Act.
6.1.1 Future Policies:
According to the Constitution and the National Education Act, the government has set future policies to achieve the goals of education for all as follows;
Under the framework of the provision of 12-year basic education; both in the general and vocational education, the government has to provide early childhood care services to pre-primary children. Compulsory education will be extended from 6 to 9 years. The disable and disadvantaged will be provided with a privilege to access to the 12-year basic education where appropriate to their special needs. The government will encourage individuals families, communities, and other agencies to provide basic education appropriately with a government subsidy. In addition, any institution will be encouraged to provide education in any form, namely formal, non-formal, and informal and enhance continuing education with systematic transfer of credits.
The policy aims at enhancing skills development to improve a better quality of life and occupation through lifelong education. It also upgrades the education level of the labour force to at least lower education and eliminate illiteracy.
The government will establish educational quality assurance both internal and external. An Office of Educational Standard and Quality Assessment will be set up to assess external quality and report to the public.
The reform in this aspect aims to restructuring the existing administration and management system to enable efficiency and effectiveness of education. Downsizing and decentralization are encouraged while local educational authorities will be able to provide their education according to their needs.
Funds for the development of teachers and education personnel, will be set up as an independent organization to enhance teaching profession in basic education. Teaching license system will also be initiated while law on salaries and remuneration and other benefits will be enhanced.
The private sector will be encourage to be independent on administration and management under the governments supervision, and monitoring. The government shall provide appropriate financial support, tax reduction or exemption, and provision of benefits to private institutions.
The government will organize activities to support learning from actual experiences by practicing. The promotion of the action plans and the establishment of lifelong learning centres in various forms will be encouraged. The participation of family and social institutions in the formulation of process of learning within the community will also be enhanced.
The reform will be in a diversity of forms to meet the requirement, age and students potential. The emphasis will not only be on knowledge and skills in mathematics, science and technology, but also the pride of Thai identity. History, the origin of Thai society and the democracy under constitutional monarchy is stressed.
This aspect of reform will be based on equality, justice and accountability, and mobilization of resources by the state and local educational authorities with attractive incentives, such as provision of financial assistance, and tax reduction or exemption.
10) Promotion and Supporting of the Production
The promotion of materials production include various forms in formal, non-formal, and informal.
6.2 Supportive Factors and Limitations in the Provision of Basic Education
The government tasks on education for all require full efforts and cooperation from all parties to assure the achievement of basic education. The path to the achievement include supportive factors and limitations follows:
6.2.1 Supportive Factors
1) Concrete Strategies and Measures
The Office of the National Education Commission and the Ministry of Education have set up and proposed 11 strategies and measures for the provision of basic education for approval from the Cabinet. The clear guidelines of operation and the political support will provide more opportunity to success.
Basic education is provided free-of-charge, therefore, that the government has to allocate a large portion of the budget for the provision of basic education. The initial estimate of budget during 2000-2003 will be as high as of 100,000 million baht a year. Recognizing the significance of basic education, the Cabinet finally approved the amount of budget as proposed by the Office of the National Education Commission and the Ministry of Education
3) Provision of rights to the family, institutions and local
The provision of rights to families and institutions/organizations to organize appropriate basic education on their own with governments subsidy will assure a full coverage of basic education.
4) Participation of private sector
The encouragement of the private sector to have more participation in providing basic education to lessen the burden of the government, with governments subsidy and incentives will provide the public with more options and high enrollment rate., governments financial support, tax reduction or tax exemption, other privileges and freedom in the administration and management of education by the private sector itself, constitute to the incentives that draw the private sector to participate in the management of basic education.
The change in the process from teacher-center approach to learner-center approach requires more non-formal sources of knowledge. These sources can help the learners to know more about themselves and the world, make them feel involved and realize the problems within the community. The learners may then be able to apply their knowledge to develop their own community.
Another benefit of non-formal sources of knowledge is that it will enhance educational institutions to set up local curriculum to meet the demands of the community and enhance the relationship between the learners and their community.
Teachers and education personnel is crucial factor in the provision of basic education. Education with such a nationwide coverage will certainly increase the number of the students. More teachers in secondary education are therefore needed. Such need will not necessarily present an obstacle in the management of basic education since the number of teachers in primary classes is being reduced due to the decreasing number of students at such level of education. This is the result of effective family planning policy. The reduction of primary school students has made the teacher-student ratio in primary schools lower than the standard. The standard for this ratio is 1:25 but in reality it is only 1:20. Therefore, the surplus number of primary school teachers can be shifted to teach in secondary education classes after proper training and skills upgrading that make them suitable to teach classes in secondary education level.
With free education provided, more students will enroll in the school. More students will enroll in upper secondary level, particularly those facing economic problem can earn a living from part-time work because they are already in labour age.
Transfer of credits will enable the increase in the enrollment in formal education. This new system will enhance the students to find out by themselves what he needs to know in accordance with their preferences and interest. If the students would like to drop their education for some time, they may return to continue their education later to enable the decrease of the waste of education.
The Ministry of Education has set up guidelines for the enrollment into school for children without registration. These children will also be awarded a certificate of education. This policy increases access to education for this group.
6.2.2 Limitations and Prevention
1) Economic Status
Although the Cabinet has approved an allocation of the budget for the provision of basic education, the present economic status of obstructs wider access to education. Resources mobilization from several agencies therefore is encouraged. It does not only lessen the burden of government budget but also restructure the educational finance management. The number of students enrollment has reduced therefore the budget allocated to education provision at this level has accordingly decreased and is shifted to the provision of secondary education. Furthermore, downsizing is encouraged in terms of cutting the positions of those retired.
The participation of several agencies and organizations in the provision of basic education to enhance a wider coverage has sometimes created duplication of services in the same areas, particularly in urban areas. The duplication causes waste in educational finance. The government should encourage all agencies to discuss and plan together to avoid duplication. Therefore, the budget allocated will then be appropriately clear and proportional to maximize the effectiveness in the administration.
Another limitation of the provision of basic education is lack of database and information to assist in planning. Systematic collection and compilation of data in Thailand still lacks behind. Since it is undertaken on individual basis, with no coordination among relevant agencies, particularly the data on the handicapped and those without resident registration. It is suggested that networking of database among relevant agencies be created to assure that the provision of basic education for all will effectively meet basic learning needs.