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The Education of Thailand

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The Education of Thailand

     The education of Thailand has had a long history,since King Ram Khamheang the Great invented the Thai alphabet in 1283. And its developmental history is divided into four stages. The first stage is the old education period before 19 century.  In this stage, education is closely related to Buddhism. The temples are schools and the monks are teachers. And that the monks taught boys scripture and languages is the main education form, because at that time in Thailand, Buddhism is popular among people and has great influence on many aspects, including education. What’s more, due to the influence of feudal thought, almost the whole society had the patriarchal thought. So the main object of education is men, except some royal princesses. The second stage is the period in the early 19 century that the foreign missionaries propagated the Christian to Thailand. They also set up both boys schools and girls school when they spread Christian. Besides, they also founded the newspapers and developed printing industries, which had promoted the education to more people. Though Buddhism is significant, the education provided by the monks was proved inadequate for government officials. So influenced by the Christian culture, Thailand gave birth to schools which have modern sense in this period. The third stage is the revitalization of education. Because of the intrusion of western economy and the challenge of western civilization, the King Rama V drew lessons from the western education system. English was taught in the palace for royalty and nobles, and schools were set up outside the palace for the education of commoners’ children. With the aid of foreign - mainly English - advisers, a Department of Education was established by the king in 1887 by which time 34 schools, with over 80 teachers and almost 2000 students, were in operation and as part of the king’s program to establish ministries. The fourth stage is from 20 century to now. Nowadays, from the globalization perspective, talents are the major point to win when Thailand competes with other countries. So the cultivation of talents has become the main principle and goal of the education, and the government advocates the life-long education. From the four stages, we can see that the education of  Thailand has developed perfecter and  more and more various.

   In Thailand, there are three categories of education: general education, vocational education and adult education.As for the general education, it is divided into three parts: elementary education, secondary education and higher education. In terms of elementary education and secondary education, they are compulsory educations, that is to say, the children must finish the elementary and the secondary education, as stipulated by the law. But why the elementary education and secondary education are so important. First, as I mentioned above, Buddhism influences the education from many aspects. Buddhism puts emphasis on the education, so in Thailand, most people are willing to go to school to accept education. Second, from the historical aspect, since the period of the Aytthaya kingdom, every king in Thailand had attached importance on the eduction, they established educational institutions, compiled and wrote textbooks, and introduced the foreign educational systems. Therefore the education is still put on a high position in nowadays. Third, thank to the policy of 9-year compulsory education, the government exempt the fees, which makes even the poor child can accept the elementary and secondary education. What’s more, as for the higher education referring to the university education. The government has launched the plan of the development of higher education(2012-2016in order to improve the quality of the higher education. The universities in Thailand have two forms: the national ones and the private ones. And there are 66 national universities and 50 private universities. There are many famous universities in Thailand, such as Chulalongkorn University, Thammasat university,Chiang Mai University and Assumption University of Thailand. Why the higher education is so important that the government is devoted to develop it? From the social respect, Thailand is the member of ASEAN, and in recent years, ASEAN has promoted the academic exchanges and personnel exchanges among the member countries. And they have established the ASEAN university network to develop the higher education. And as the development of  economic globalization, Thailand should make preparation for it. So developing the higher education is helpful to improve the citizen’s quality and the labor force’s competence. And from the cultural respect, the traditional education is connected with the Buddhism. In the Buddhism culture,these virtues,such as helping each otherliving in harmonyand loving each other, are widely accepted by the Thailand people.And with the influx of the foreign culture, the traditional values were impacted. So the higher education can make the Thai expose to the traditional virtues in order to resist the foreign culture’s bad influences.

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