Connect with us

Thai Life

Law, life and Society: Reassessing the Thai education system

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

PHUKET: The Thai education system was recently featured in the Economist. The article, titled ‘Poor schools are at the heart of Thailand’s political malaise‘, was published on January 19, 2017 and discussed Thailand’s international education rankings in the recently released ‘Program for International Student Assessment’ (PISA). Thailand’s scores have plunged to an overall ranking of 54 out of 70 assessed countries. PISA has found that one-third of Thailand’s 15-year-olds are “functionally illiterate”.

I decided to talk to my friend, Eric Guzman, who teaches at a school in Rayong, about what he believes is the cause of students scoring so poorly in international assessments. He talked to a few of his fellow teachers who gave some valuable input, but wished to remain anonymous.

“One Thai teacher says that he recognizes the benefits and drawbacks of the Thai educational system. However, he added that the annual policy changes instituted by successive Thai governments makes it difficult for teachers to develop a lesson plan. Teachers are uncertain whether a new government edict will remain or change. Another difficulty is old policies remaining in place despite new policies being instituted, which creates more confusion,” says Mr Guzman.

“A tangent to this issue is the proliferation of celebrations and holiday programs that take children out of the classroom. There are weekly events including sports week, scout’s week, Western culture week, and programs commemorating Thai holidays,” he adds.

Some foreign teachers question the frequency of these programs which occur multiple times a month. During these programs, many children are taken out of the classroom and the classes are actually canceled. While the programs are fun, they interfere with students’ academic progress.

Additional government programs reduce the amount of time available while increasing the teachers’ workloads. Many Thai teachers feel overburdened with paperwork, which reduces their ability to focus on their students’ learning. This is compounded when they have to deal with so many students who make no attempt to learn.

One Thai teacher remarked that he thinks the most common problem among Thai students is laziness. He said, “Many kids, especially boys, are only interested in playing games. They seem to get bored easily with discussion and are only attentive during the first few minutes in class.”

“Despite my limited teaching experience, I concur. Most students become idle when they lack the drive and motivation to study. It is the role of teachers to continually entertain and educate students. During the course of a year, I am required to continually develop new action plans to keep the students engaged in learning. This task is not easy and over time can be exhausting. I empathize with some teachers who have reverted to the old Thai teaching method of rote memorization.

“One large challenge to teachers is Thailand’s ‘no-fail’ policy. Even if the student does not show up in class, teachers have to provide minimal scores to allow the student to pass. Many students recognize that regardless of their performance in the classroom, they will inevitably move on to the next level at the end of the school year.

“I love my job and enjoy being with my students. However, changes should be made to the Thai education system to reduce government edicts and allow local schools more freedom. In a system where teachers feel overburdened with bureaucracy and where apathetic students are still allowed to pass, the passion in the hearts of many young teachers is quickly extinguished,” Mr Guman says.

Robert R Virasin is a licenced US Attorney and managing director of Virasin & Partners. He can be reached at www.virasin.com. Eric John de Guzman is a teacher at a public secondary school in Rayong, Thailand.

— Robert Virasin

 

Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)30 mins ago

CCSA: 120 day reopening will proceed with conditions

Tourism1 hour ago

Sandbox latest, CCSA says all regions reopening must reach 70% local vaccination

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Saturday: 3,667 new infections and 32 deaths

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Politics5 hours ago

Thamanat elected to role of head ‘fixer’ in Palang Pracharat party

Expats14 hours ago

List: China has over 50% of all foreign-owned condos in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)16 hours ago

Government plans 10 million vaccines for July

World19 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Vaccine deaths investigation, PM heads to Phuket, BMA extends vendor licences | June 18

Thailand20 hours ago

1 million AstraZeneca doses arrive, Anutin says “more” on the way

Drugs20 hours ago

1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine and heroin seized near Malaysian border

Coronavirus (Covid-19)20 hours ago

Pattaya bars plead for government help

Thailand20 hours ago

Colour-coded zoning revised, restrictions to ease nationwide

Transport21 hours ago

Department of Land Transport will reopen, issue licenses

Best of21 hours ago

Top 8 Things to do in Chiang Mai

Tourism22 hours ago

Krabi schedules 82 flights per week from late October

Best of22 hours ago

Top 6 Online Forums in Thailand

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending