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Article in Nation about the educati

NOTE: We can learn from the education reform program in Thailand for future
education reform in Burma.



Kamoithip Bai-ngern and Prapasri Osathanondha look at the dawn of a new era
in Thailand's national education in  a two-part series.

There are several articles in the new charter which clearly emphasize the
importance of education - Article 40 on fundamental education, Article 42 on
academic freedom, Article  46 on the conservation and revival of local
wisdom, Articles 53, 55 and 80 on the rights of underprivileged children and
handicapped people  to an education. 

Article 81 on the enactment of the national education law, the mmagement and
improvement of education to suit the changing world, the promotion of
research and the development of science and technology; and Article 289 on the
role of the local administration organisation in education management.

While political pundits are pushing for three main organic laws, educators
and  academic experts are drafting a National Education Bill in accordance
with Aricle 81.  The bill will be the guidline for true education reform in
the country.

National  Education Commission secretary-general Dr. Rung Kaewdaeng, in his
capacity as a government representative in the drafting, said the development of
national education depends on the bill. 

The drafting committee, chaired by Dr. Sippannondha Ketudaat, comprises
prominent experts from various agecies. The panel is currently  deliberating
the 42 points in the bill and expects to complete the draft early next year.

The following is an unofficial translation of the draft.

1) The philosophy of education in Thailand and the goals of education
managemant: Education is a lifelong process which will enable Thai citizens
to live in the modern world with knowledge, capability and virtue. It will
also create an intellectual society based on Thai culture.

2) Human rights and fundamental freedom in education:	Individuals shall have
the right to receive education and have access to information throughout
their lives. They also have the freedom to choose and arrange their own
education and training courses, as provided by the law.

3) Equality and non-discrimination in education: Individuals are entitled to
receive fair treatment as far as education is concerned. Financial
background, social status and physical condition shall not be used to
discriminate against their right to an equal education.

Any person who feels that he or she is not receiving a quality or equal
education has the right to file a complaint with authorities.

4) Educational duty and the responsibility of individuals: Learning is
legally the duty of individual, as education will enable them to better
Both the government and the private sector are encouraged to arrange and
education for the public.

As in New Zealand, where the government provides knowledge for the public on
how to raise and educate young children, the Thai government shall support
families, communities and society in education issues.

5) Academic freedom: The government, providing that  they do not go against
citizens' duties and morals shall protect freedom in teaching, research and
the dissemination of research.

"Morals" will be legally defined.  It is forbidden for individuals to do
anything against good virtue.  Such acts are considered a threat to society.

6) Fundamental education policy: 
* Education shall develop and promote human potential. 
* Education shall encourage the Thai people to use their capabilities to
develop the country into a leading society in the region.
* People can always learn throughout their lives,  no matter where they live in
the country.
* Education management and arrangement is not restricted to schools and
teachers. Any unit of society can play such a role.
* The government shall decentralise the	power to arrange and manage
education.	It shall also promote any unit of society providing quality and
equal education.
* The government shall guarantee the freedom and power of any agencies which
provide or arrange education. 
* The financial  system in education shall be overhauled.
The government shall be  responsible for fundamental education.
* The integration of local wisdom and techonology for the benefit of the  modern
education system shall be promoted.
* The education system shall be arranged to enable local communities and
parties concerned to get involved.

7) Educational system: Arrange and incoporate the 3 main structures of
education: Formal, non-formal and informal education. The public shall have
an equal opportunity to learn according to their readiness, skill and

8) Preparation for life and pre-school education: Provide education for
would-be parents so that they can lay a good foundation for their children's

Such education will cover a wide range of issues including psychology,
physical development,  health and nutrition. 

9) Basic education: The government shall provide the first twelve years of
primary and secondary education free of charge. In addition, the government
will also arrange the activities suitable for pre-schoolers.

10) Higher education: Emphasize academic performance to produce human
resources in fields that the country needs.

The current higher education system will be reviewed to analyse its
drawbacks and advantages.  The system will be  improved to the same level as
that of developed countries.

11) Special education for the handicapped: Those with physical disabilities
will receive education specially arranged for them.	This education will aim
to provide basic knowledge,  which will enable them to live an work
independently in an integrated society.

12) Education for underprivileged children: Education will be provided for
underprivileged children, including abused child labourers, child
prostitutes, homeless children, children of construction workers and
prisoners, children without nationalities, 	children with behaviour problems
and children with drug abuse problems.

13)  Education for the gifted and talented:  This programme will support
talented and gifted children to capitalise on their unique capabilities.

14) Education  for specific purposes: This program will	provide knowledge
and occupational skills for people from various agencies. The program  is
specifically arranged to suit the need of each agency or certain group of
people. However, it must also be in line with  the national educational policy.	

15) Lifelong learning:	This programme will be provided in and	outside the
school system. It aims to improve people's job skills and education from the
cradle to the grave.

16) Education for employment: This program aims to provide education for
people to improve their occupational skills.  Education will be provided in
and outside school.  The vocational education programs of both the
government and
the private sector will play an important role in arranging this programming.

17) Future occupational skills training: Short training courses for people
in various agencies to improve their knowledge and skills will be provided.

18) Education and moral development: Instil morals in children and adults so
that they can determine right from wrong by themselves. They will respect
good virtues and will remain good family members, members of society and
respect their fellow human beings.

19) Education in Thai culture	and wisdom: Thai culture, tradition and wisdom
will be revived and added to the curriculum. The objective is to let culture,
tradition and wisdom support the education system and vise versa.

20) Education in the development of democracy: Impart a knowledge and
understanding of democracy and teach people how to act, exercise their
rights and get involved in political activities under democratic rule.

21) Education in the development of science and technology: Lay a foundation
for science and technology development. This will encourage learners to
think analytically and to be creative. This will enable to be competitive in
the global communities. 

22) National education guidelines:  The present educational system mainly
focuses on study at schools. However, the trend is changing and education
will no longer be limited to the classroom. New education programmes, a
combination of local wisdom and broad knowledge, will be arranged to suit
the needs of local communities, no matter where they are.

23) Development of the learning process: The government will promote
continuous and lifelong education among people. Learners will be considered
the centre of the learning process.

24) Educational decentralisation:  Schools will be given more power in the
administration and management of education. Thailand will emulate New
Zealsnd's educational administrative system.

25) Local government and education: According to the constitution, all
levels of local administrative organisations have the right to arrange
education for their communities. They can also play a part in arranging the
national educational systems. 

26) Educational resources: Mobilize and manage resources, which are either
in the form of money or other kinds of educational resources such as
communication technologies. This aims to provide formal, non-formal and
lifelong education to learners. 

To achieve this goal, so-called " State-centric" resource management should
be changed to be more "society-centric". This will increase the efficiency
and prevent overlapping of education management. It will also suit the needs
of local people.

The government will find measures to encourage the private sector,
communities and organisations such as temples to help provide funds for
educational  purposes. Among the proposed measures is a tax exemption and
reduction of internet subscription fees for any organisation which provides
"matching funds" for education.

Schools and learning institutions will be given more freedom in handling
educational resources. Rules and regulations considered to be hurdles to the
management of educational resources will be abrogated.

To ensure efficiency, there will be a body to monitor the use of educational
resources. Rewards will be given to schools or learning institutions which
maintain a good performance in managing educational resources. 

27) Development and promotion: Teachers shall play a pivotal role in
stimulating learners to realise the importance of education. The profession
will be promoted as an honourable job.

At the same time, teachers should always improve themselves. There will be a
system to monitor their performance. Society, non-government organisations
in communities should play a part in monitoring and improving the quality of
teachers. To encourage teachers, fringe benefits packages will be arranged
to reward dedication and excellent performance. 

28)  National standard for education: Develop the  quality assurance system
for education to the same level as that in other developed countries.  Every
concerned agency should have a 'Culture' Of self-evaluation and also be
readily examined by other organisations.

Since the results of the evaluation will be used to determine the amount of
budget allocations to each agency, an accurate and impartial evaluation
system will be adopted to ensure fairness.

29) Quality assurance and acereditation: Improve the standard of higher 
learning to the same level as that in other developed countries. Quality
assurance and accreditation is essential for universities and learning
institutions as an indicator of their competence and good performance.

30)  Religious organisations and education: Call on various religious
organisations to cooperate in education.  Based on the "Knowledge and
Virtues" concept, the government will also be responsible for instilling
morals in the people.

31)  Family and education: Promote the role of the family institution in
providing education to children along with schools.  Parents will also be
encouraged to arrange their children's education. It is considered the duty
of parent to provide necessary education for children under 16 years of age.

In cases where parents think a school is providing inappropriate education
to their children, the  parents shall have the right of file a complaint.
They will then be able to provide their children's education by themselves.

32) Community and education: Promote and support communities' role in
educational policy-making and the planning, managing and monitoring of the
quality  of education. A learning network for communities will also be

33) Private education: Encourage private learning institutions and schools
to take part in providing education of all levels nationwide, particularly
in fields that lack expertise. 

The government will change its role as a controller of the private sector to
that of a supporter. It will also have to revoke laws or regulations which
may obstruct the development of education. Countries which succesfuly
carried out private education will be used as case studies to develop the
system in Thailand.

34) Education and private enterprise: Private enterprises will be encouraged
to play a role in providing formal, non-formal and informal education. There
will be incentives such as tax	reductions to encourage	private enterprises
to help in education management.

35) Professional associations and education: Promote and support
professional organisations taking part in monitoring and providing education
and training for people.

36) Non-governmental organisations and education: Promote and support
non-governmental organisations taking part in managing and providing formal,
 non-formal and informal education. Create a network of educational
organisations and develop the learning-process to benefit the people.

37) Other government agencies and education: Promote and support government 
agencies, such as the Defence, Public Health, Agriculture, Interior and
Commerce ministries taking part in providing education for the people.

38)National telecommunications resources role in education: Promote
the use of telecommunication resources in managing education and developing
the quality of teaching. 

39) Information technology and education: Promote the development and
improvement of education and reduce disparities in education by using various
forms of information technology.

40) Development of the national information infrastructure for education:
Promote the establishment of an information infrastructure network for 
education in a bid to foster equality and create the same standard of
education all over the country.

41) Mass media and education: Campaign for the mass media to realise the
importance of education and encourage the sector to play a more significant
role in promoting education.

42)  Educational reform: Promote and support the improvement of the quality
of all levels of education.

The ultimate goal is to develop education as an efficient lifelong process
which will help citizens to keep up with the modern world.