Ministry of Education
Thanon Ratchadamnoen Nok
: Mr. Adisai
Fax : 02-6286135
Webpage : http://www.moe.go.th/adisai
Minister : Mr.
Tel.: 02-6286143, 02-6286145
Fax : 02-2811179
Secretary for Education :
Khunying Kasama Varnvarn Na Ayutthaya
Tel.: 02-2816350, 02-2804272
Fax : 02-6285608
Webpage : http://www.moe.go.th/
(Foreign Affairs) : Mr.
Tel.: 02-6285612, 02-6286152
Fax : 02-2813490
Division : Miss. Churairat Sangboonnum
Fax : 02-2810953
EDUCATION IN BRIEF
ITS PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
The earliest form of education may be
said to have begun in the middle of the Sukhothai period (13th
Century A.D.) when King Ramkhamhaeng invented the Thai alphabet.
Stone inscriptions of that period tell of moral, intellectual and
Early education was, however, limited
to mainly the aristocracy and the clergy. It
was necessary for princes to be literate so that they could administer their
provinces and communicate with the palace in the capital, while monks had to
know how to read the religious texts from which they preached sermons to the
laity. The remainder of society
were either in service or engaged in farming so they had little need for reading
skills, village lore being transmitted orally.
The basic structure of education
introduced during the Sukhothai period was followed through to the period of
Ayutthaya and, to large extent, still prevailed during the early reigns of
Buddhist monasteries were virtually
the only source of semi-public education and only a very small portion of the
population, mostly male, received any formal education.
The reign of King Mongkut (1851-1865)
saw the turning point of modernization in Thailand and the growth of western
influence. The first printing press
was set up and education patterns of Thai children were restructured to suit the
new needs of the nation. The knowledge of English became a necessary tool and an
English teacher was hired to teach the royal children.
The king himself had mastered English and Latin.
The modernization policy was further
pursued by King Chulalongkorn (1868-1910) who, realizing the need for better
trained personnel for royal and government services, opened a school in the
palace. An ‘English School’ was
also established in the palace to prepare princes and court children for further
studies abroad. Schools were also
founded outside the palace for the children of commoners and government
textbooks were printed for use in Bangkok and, at a later period, in the
The Department of Education was
established in 1887 with the full responsibility of education and religious
affairs of the entire country. When
it became a full-fledged Ministry in 1892 new approaches were employed, placing
more emphasis on ‘popular education’. Thus
government primary schools were established throughout the kingdom so that
literacy, good citizenship and a better standard of living for the people could
The early 20th Century
witnessed many developments in education in Thailand.
In 1916 the first university in Thailand, Chulalongkorn University, was
founded with four faculties namely, Medicine, Law and Political Science,
Engineering, and Arts and Science.
The extent of responsibilities and the
regulations pertaining to the participation of the private sector in national
education was laid down for the first time in 1918 when the Private School Act
was passed. The ‘Compulsory
Primary Education Act’ was proclaimed in 1921 and the first school of Arts and
Crafts was established in 1922.
After the adoption of the system of
constitutional monarchy in the year 1932, a National Education Scheme was
formulated, taking formal recognition of individual educational ability,
regardless of sex, social background, or physical conditions.
This scheme has been regularly revised to ensure that every citizen is
provided with the four major aspects of education namely, Puttisuksa (Intellectual
Education), Chariyasuksa (Moral education), Palasuksa (Physical Education), and
Hattasuksa (Practical Education).
In 1960, compulsory education was extended to 6 years. In addition, special provisions were, for the first time,
made for disabled children, who were originally exempted from compulsory
education, so that they might be given some form of basic education.
In 1977, Thailand’s educational system was changed from a 4-3-3-2
structure to a 6-3-3 system. Six
years of compulsory primary education are followed by three years of lower
secondary and three years of upper secondary schooling.
From 1997 it can accurately be said that the Ministry of Education’s
efforts have been geared towards one direction, namely, to provide educational
services that will enhance the quality of life and society.
In 1999, the National Education Act
was promulgated to serve as the fundamental law for the administration and
provision of education reform.
2. EDUCATION DIRECTIONS IN THE PAST
Until now, eight five-year plans,
called National Education Development Plans (NED Plans), were formulated in
accordance with the National Economic and Social Development Plan (NESDP) to
serve as guidelines for action in the education sector with varying emphases as
The First and Second NED Plans
(1961-1971) focused mainly on the expansion of basic education, and
particularly aimed at universalizing access to primary schooling.
The Third and Fourth NED Plans
(1972-1981) emphasized the provision of basic education on a wider scale to
cover both school age and adult students from an out-of-school population.
The Fifth and Sixth NED Plans
(1982-1991) considered the qualitative aspect of education to be the major
concern for improving basic education. Another emphasis concerned rendering educational services to
those unreached groups such as the physically, mentally, socially and
The Seventh and Eighth NED Plans
(1992-2001) highlighted people-centred development.
More effort is to be focused on enhancing the development of educational
quality, accelerating the provision for life-long education and organizing
education oriented to productive work. The
private sector is to be encouraged to participate more in providing education to
meet specific needs. Education is
to focus on:
Social and Technology Development
Human Resources Development
Promotion of Democracy
State involvement and close
supervision of various aspects of education were reflected in Constitution of
October, 1978 as follows:
For non-compulsory education, the State should lay down appropriate
measures to guarantee fair and democratic access to education within relevant
legislation and taking into account the individual’s ability.
The State should link non-formal education with formal education.
It should also provide appropriate practical education for each level and
each kind of education.
The State should make education accessible to the poor, physically,
mentally and socially handicapped as well as the educationally disadvantaged.
The organization of education was the sole responsibility of the State.
All education management came under the supervision of the State
The State should make compulsory education universal. State and local educational institutes should provide
education free of charge at this level.
Education was conceived as a
continuing life-long process which promoted the quality of life for the people,
enabling them to lead a useful life in society.
The emphasis was thus laid upon expansion of education so that it could
serve primarily as a means to earning a living, as well as self-fulfillment.
The educational system provided six
years at the primary level, three years at the lower secondary level, three
years at the upper secondary level, and four years at the tertiary level.
There was also pre-school education
which had been designed to encourage harmonious physical, intellectual,
emotional and social development of a child before commencing formal education.
However, education at this level was not compulsory.
The greater majority of pre-primary
schools were privately operated and located in Bangkok.
Although it was a government policy to leave the provision of the bulk of
education at this level to the private sector, the Ministry of Education had
nevertheless set up a kindergarten in every provincial capital to act as a model
for those wishing to open their own schools.
Compulsory education began at the age
of seven and children were required to attend school until they reached the age
Education in all government schools
was provided practically free of charge.
* ADMINISTRATION OF EDUCATION
The responsibility for the
administration of education is divided among four main governmental authorities
namely; the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of University Affairs, the
Ministry of Interior and the Office of the Prime Minister.
Ministry of Education
Ministry of Education is responsible for the management of most levels and types
of education in the country: from pre-primary to secondary and some post-secondary
education for instance, teacher education, technical and vocational education.
In addition, it also supervises private schools at all levels except the
Most primary education in the country
which used to be under the responsibility of the Local Administration Department,
the Ministry of Interior, was transferred to the Ministry of Education on
October 1, 1980. It is at present
administered under a network of committees at the national, provincial and
The bureaucratic reform legislation promulgated in 2002 ushers in the
biggest civil service revamp in modern times. The reengineering of government
administration provides for 20 ministries : Office of the Prime Minister,
Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Ministry of Social Development and Human
Security, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Ministry of Transport,
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Information and
Communications Technology, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of
Interior, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Culture, Ministry
of Science, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Industry, and Ministry of
As provided in the National Education Act B.E. 2542 (1999), the
education reform expects to push Thai education forward to keep up with global
changes in the new century. The restructuring of the
Ministry of Education merges in various offices related to their areas of
responsibilities as the following: Office of
the Permanent Secretary for
Education, Secretariat Office of the Council of Education,
Office of Fundamental Education Commission, Office of Higher Education
Office of Vocational Education Commission.
of University Affairs
The Ministry of University Affairs is responsible for the supervision and coordination of Thailand’s public and private institutions of higher education with the exception of some specialized professional training that falls under the jurisdiction of other ministries. The Ministry is also responsible for formulating educational policy within the framework of the national education development plan. Other tasks include standardization of curricula, personnel management, and recommending areas for budget allocation.
The Bureau for local Education
Administration is responsible for the management of primary and lower secondary
education in the municipality of each province whereas the Bangkok Metropolitan
Administration is responsible for the management of primary and lower secondary
education in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area with financial support and supervision
by the Ministry of Interior. In
addition, this Ministry also takes charge of professional training centres run
by the Department of Community Development.
of the Prime Minister
Agencies under the Office of the Prime Minister which are responsible for the planning of education are the National Economic and Social Development Board, the National Education Commission, the Budget Bureau and the Civil Service Commission. The National Economic and Social Development Board is responsible for the overall policy in all areas of national development. The National Education Commission is responsible for the planning of overall policy and evaluation of all types of education administered under separate government agencies. The Budget Bureau and the Civil Service Commission are responsible for financial and personnel support respectively.
Other government agencies are also responsible for the management of education in specialized fields both in the formal and non-formal system. The Ministry of Defence is responsible for the management of military education. The Royal Thai Police Headquarters is responsible for the management of police education. The Ministry of Public Health is responsible for the management of education in professional administration skills. The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare is responsible for the management of education in professional and skills training centres nationwide.
Structure of School System
2 3 4
1 2 3 1
1 2 3 4 5 6
4 5 6
2 3 4 5
2 3 4
4 5 6
1 2 3 4 5
ORGANIZATION OF THE Ministry
The Ministry of Education has under
its jurisdiction 14 departments/offices including the Royal Institute and two
Buddhist universities: Mahachulalongkorn Rajavidyalaya University and Mahamakut
Buddhist University. Moreover,
there are two other autonomous agencies with administrative freedom affiliated
to the Ministry namely, the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and
Technology (IPST), and Kurusapa: the Teachers’ Council of Thailand.
Departments/Offices under the Ministry
Office of the Permanent Secretary (OPS)
Office of the National Primary Education Commission (ONPEC)
Department of Non-Formal Education (DNFE)
Department of General Education (DGE)
Department of Vocational Education (DOVE)
Department of Physical Education (DPE)
Office of the Private Education Commission (OPEC)
Rajamangala Institute of Technology (RIT)
Office of Rajabhat Institutes Council (ORIC)
Fine Arts Department (FAD)
Department of Religious Affairs (DRA)
Office of the National Culture Commission (ONCC)
Department of Curriculum and Instruction Development (DCID)
Office of the Teacher Civil Service Commission (OTCSC)
Mahachulalongkorn Rajavidyalaya University and Mahamakut Buddhist
Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST)
Kurusapa: Teachers’ Council of Thailand (TCT)
under the present National Scheme of Education promulgated since 1992 is based
on four fundamental principles as follows:
the flourishment of individual wisdom, thinking, mind and morality is a
necessary and essential goal towards creating balanced development between
spiritual cultivation versus material and economic growth.
Being a part of nature and with the necessity to coexist in harmony with
and underpinning nature, human beings must realize the importance of judicious
utilization and conservation of natural resources without causing detrimental
effects to the environment.
Concurrent with striving to keep up with modern technological progress
and the adoption of foreign or exogeneous culture outside a community, an
understanding and appreciation of local knowledge, language and culture of Thai
society must be ascertained in order to optimize the use of modern knowledge
relevant to the local context and needs.
The proper balance between dependency and self-reliance is an essential
basis for cooperation at individual, community and national levels for the
promotion of sustainable development, which will help enhance the prominence of
Thailand in the world community.
Education is the process that enables
human beings to develop their quality of life, lead a peaceful social life, and
make a proper contribution to national development in accordance with contextual
changes of the nation. As such, the goals of education emphasize balanced and
harmonious development of the individual in four aspects as follows:
An educated person should attain wisdom: the ability to understand
causality; to differentiate between virtue and vices, right and wrong, and good
and malicious deeds on the basis of truth; to intelligently solve problems; to
recognize and understand rapid and various changes; to be creative and possess
an inquiring mind to keep up with technological progress; to appreciate Thai
wisdom and culture; and to wisely choose modern knowledge and exogenous culture
for adoption by Thai society.
2. Spiritual development
An educated person should be able to train one’s mind to become morally
developed; to be self-conscious of wrong-doings; to be self-controlled and self-disciplined
in one’s behaviour in accordance with moral code of conduct; to uphold
religious principles; to be modest and moderate; to possess concentration and
perseverance which are essential for working and living.
3. Physical development
An educated person should possess healthy physique normal to one’s age;
be able to ensure the good health of oneself and one’s family, and be able to
develop one’s physical capacity suitable for work and occupational practices.
4. Social development
An educated person should possess proper social behaviour at work and
in the family, organizations and society; to extend help unselfishly; to possess
communication skills and ability; to use proper Thai as well as foreign
languages for communication purposes; to preserve the Thai national identity and
culture; to recognize and observe the rights, duty and responsibility towards
others, society, and mankind; to intend upon creating a peaceful society; to
recognize and observe one’s own and others’ rights and freedom under the
democratic form of government with the king as head of state; to be able to
utilize and conserve natural resources and to create a proper environment; and
to contribute to enhancing an appropriate role of the nation in the world
educational system according to this National Scheme of Education is designed to
assure continuous and life-long learning for individuals so as to promote their
wisdom, spiritual, physical and social development, and their contribution
towards the progress of the nation under the democratic government with the king
as head of state.
The educational system according to the National Scheme of Education
provides opportunity for individuals to develop themselves in accordance with
their age. That is, early
childhood education emphasizes caring and promoting children’s readinees
for subsequent learning; for children and youth, education aims to
enhance morality, knowledge and ability necessary for work and occupational
practices relevant to their ages; for adults, education is to promote
morality in conjunction with knowledge and ability in work and occupation,
participation in community and national development, and ability to seek
knowledge and information for quality of life development which is friendly to
the environment; and for the aged, education aims to help them adjust to
changes in ages and contextual situations, join in social activities and make
proper and valuable contribution both to themselves and society.
The educational system provides opportunity for continuous and life-long
learning via various forms of education, both in a school-related system of
education and through the learning process from the way of life.
Education in a school-related system is provided by educational
institutions characterized by a class/grading system, and the use of curriculum
specified for the level and type of education so as to develop learners in
accordance with curriculum objectives.
Education from way-of-life learning process is self-learning from
various sources of knowledge and environment related to way of life naturally
existing or modified to enhance and service learning.
Education in a school-related system is divided into 4 levels: pre-school
education, primary education, secondary education and higher education.
3.1 Pre-school education is in the form of childcare and readiness
development of children in physical, psychological, mental, emotional,
personality, and social aspects so as to prepare them for higher levels of
The provision of education at this level can be organized in the forms of
day-care centre, kindergarten, or child development centre, depending upon local
conditions and target groups.
3.2 Primary education aims to provide a basis for learners to form
desirable character encompassing morality, ethics, basic knowledge and ability,
and to retain literacy and arithmetic ability.
Secondary education is divided into two parts, i.e., lower
secondary education and upper secondary education.
Lower secondary education aims to promote learners’ morality,
knowledge, ability and skills beyond the primary level, to enable them to
identify their needs and interests and to be aware of their aptitude both in
general and vocational practices relevant to their age.
Upper secondary education aims to enable learners to progress
according to their aptitude and interests and acquire the basis either for
furthering to higher education or for working and pursuing a career suitable for
their aptitude both as entrepreneurs and paid workers; to promote their morality,
ethics, and social skills necessary for working, pursuing a career and leading
peaceful social lives.
3.4 Higher education is divided into 3 levels, i.e., lower than
bachelor’s degree level, bachelor’s degree level, and graduate level.
Lower than bachelor’s degree level aims to promote learners’
knowledge and vocational skills at middle level including their ability to
initiate jobs and develop entrepreneurship.
Bachelor’s degree level aims to promote learners’ higher level
of knowledge and skills in various disciplines, especially ability to apply
theories to practice, to initiate both academic and professional development, to
create and disseminate knowledge, to participate in national development
relating to economic, social, political, cultural and environmental aspects, and
to promote the role of the nation in the world community.
Graduate level aims to promote learners’ specialized knowledge
and skills; to strive for academic progress and excellence, especially in
studies, research and development of knowledge and technology in science,
humanities and social sciences; and to facilitate the adoption of modern
technology and local Thai wisdom for economic and social development.
The organization of education in a school-related system can be of
various types depending upon characteristics and needs of target groups,
community and nation. Such are
teacher education, vocational education, special vocational education,
vocational education for specific groups, special education and education for
ecclesiastical personnel and spiritual leaders, for example.
These types of education are organized with due consideration both to characteristics and needs of target groups, and to the goals of enhancing balanced development of individual’s morality, knowledge, ability and skills.
Teacher education aims to train and develop prospective as well as
practicing teachers to acquire morality, knowledge, ability and skills in
teaching and motivating learners to learn; to be mindful of professionalism,
spirit and responsibility of teachers; to serve as a role model for learners
regarding social behaviour, life style and preservation of the national language
and culture; to develop an inquiring mind and engage in continuous improvement
of themselves and their teaching capability; and to engage in community
development, as well as in rehabilitation, conservation and enrichment of local
and national environment and culture.
Vocational education aims to enable learners to develop vocational
knowledge and skills useful for working both as entrepreneurs and as paid
workers; and to make a decent living.
Vocational education can
be organized in both formal and non-formal systems. Vocational education in the formal school system is a
development of occupational knowledge and skills relevant to each level of
education from primary to higher levels. Vocational
education in the non-formal system is short-course training in specific
occupations for those needing to upgrade their knowledge and skills.
4.3 Special vocational education aims to enable learners to train and
develop specific vocational skills and expertise which require a long period of
training from childhood, such as dancing, music and sports.
It may be provided in special institutes created for the purpose or
incorporated in the general curricula.
Vocational education of specific groups aims to enhance learners’
vocational knowledge and skills in accordance with specific needs of certain
agencies, or characteristics and needs of specific groups but is not provided in
general educational institutions. It
must comply with the State’s national policy directives.
Special education aims to enable learners who are physically,
mentally, and emotionally handicapped to undertake learning suitable for their
conditions and capability. It
enables geniuses or talented learners to develop their aptitude to the fullest
potential and maximize their ingenuity. Special
education can be provided in special institutes or in general educational
institutions from pre-school to higher education levels.*
4.6 Education for ecclesiastical personnel and spiritual leaders aims
to enhance monks, novices, clergymen and spiritual leaders to assume leadership
on wisdom, spiritual and moral development; to serve as a role model and take an
active role in inculcating morality, rightful values and behaviour; and to lead
in conserving, rehabilitating and enriching local culture and environment.
in conserving, rehabilitating and enriching local culture and environment.