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Education, Economy and Identity

Ten Years of Educational Reform in Thailand

Ten Years of Educational Reform in ThailandDirigé par Audrey Baron-Gutty et Supat Chupradit
IRASEC, Bangkok
août 2009, 118 p.
ISBN : 978-616-90282-0-8
English Language English text

Modern education in Thailand started at the end of the nineteenth century under the impulse of King Chulalongkorn. Many scholars tracing back the evolution from traditional education to a modern education system emphasized the feeling of necessity that motivated this transformation. Wyatt (1969), Mead (2004) and Watson (1982) underlined the need for a modern administration, to handle the Siamese nation-state “as” the Western states, and in that respect, the key role played by education to structure the new Siam and to appear to the eyes of the world as civilized (Peleggi 2002).

The shaping of a new education took place amidst strong political struggles. Siam needed to stand firm within the regional arena, swept by the winds of Western colonialism. Internally, King Chulalongkorn had to legitimize his power and to unify the kingdom by integrating satellite kingdoms into a wider space, the Siamese nation state. Education was vital for this mission as it would contribute not only to bringing state power into the provinces through state-paid teachers and government officials, but also to transmitting a whole nation-related imagery to the young generations.

Giving rise to Thai-ness among the populations located at the margins of the kingdom was a tremendous ordeal. In the Southern part of the kingdom, population was mainly Muslim, spoke Malay and felt culturally closer to the Malay state (Dulyakasem 1991). In the Northern part, incorporating the Lanna kingdom and hill tribe populations into Siam proved not to be easy. Ideological, social and national values were introduced into education delivered to students, and with the implementation of the Compulsory Education Act of 1921, school attendance tied children and parents to the nation state and made them liable to it.

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Table of Contents

Note of Transliteration
Thai terms

Introduction : Understanding the Challenges of the Educational Reform in Thailand (Audrey BARON-GUTTY)

Objectives of the study
Methodology / Research Questions / Hypothesis
Paper outline

Chapter 1 - Reinforcing Thai wisdom with local curriculum at school (Audrey BARON-GUTTY, Supat CHUPRADIT)


  1. Sample Presentation and Background Information
    • Survey of schools
    • Background information on the local curriculum
  2. Actors of the local curriculum
    • Elaborating the local curriculum
    • Delivering the local curriculum
  3. Content of the local curriculum
    • Challenges of the local curriculum
    • Local wisdom vs. local curriculum ?


Chapter 2 - Modern education systems and impact on ethnic minorities (Kwanchewan BUADAENG, Prasit LEEPREECHA)


  1. Development of the modern education system in Thailand
  2. The “Hill Tribes” of Thailand in the geopolitics of the Cold War
  3. Extending modern education to the highlands : the role of state agencies
    • The Office of the Basic Education Commission
    • The Non-formal Education Office
    • The Special Education Administrative Office
    • The Border Patrol Police (BPP) Command Office
    • The National Buddhism Office
  4. Impact of modern curriculum on hill tribes
    • School curriculum and teaching system in highland schools
    • Impact of formal education on the hill tribe people and community
  5. Attempts from Government Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and People Organizations (POs) to reform education

Conclusion : problems and challenges

Chapter 3 - Vocational and cooperative education in Thailand : A Presentation (Chitrlada BURAPHARAT, Supat CHUPRADIT)


  1. Vocational education in Thailand
    • Historical background of Thai vocational education
    • The vocational education in Thailand : Current structure
    • The present status of Vocational College in Thailand
    • The role of vocational education in economic development
  2. Cooperative education in Thailand
    • The concepts of co-operative education
    • Importing co-operative education in Thailand


Chapter 4 - Fix-it centres : Adaptation and outcomes of the “clusters of the poor”. A case study in Chiang Mai (Audrey BARON-GUTTY, Supat CHUPRADIT)


  1. Fix-it centres and the cluster policy
    • The theory of industrial clusters
    • Fix-it centres : a cluster-related organization
    • “Clusters of the poor” ?
  2. Case study of a Fix it centre project in the Chiang Mai Area
    • The fix-it centre stakeholders and their linkages
    • Activities of the fix-it centre
    • Assessment of the fix-it centre outcomes


Chapter 5 - Strengthening university-industry links through co-op education : Case studies in Thailand (Audrey BARON-GUTTY, Supat CHUPRADIT)


  1. Recruiting students for co-op programmes
    • Background of the students
    • Selection process
  2. Setting up a relevant curriculum
    • Developing human skills for the working environment
    • Buttressing basic knowledge
    • Inculcating specific knowledge
  3. Assignments in the workplace : The key role of the university supervisor
    • Internship vs. co-op
    • The role of supervisors



Conclusion : The Need for a Real Educational Reform (Audrey BARON-GUTTY, Supat CHUPRADIT)