This post will tell you almost everything that you need to know about the education system in Thailand. It will present key information that will make it easier for you to plan, prepare, and strategize your child’s education and future. Reading this, you’d be able to gauge if it’s best for your child to study in public schools or world-class international schools like Bangkok Prep. Read on, take note, and plan accordingly! Your child’s future is at stake so every piece of information that you would get would be useful.
1. There are many private schools in Thailand.
There are currently 20 million Thai students and three million of them are studying in private schools. These private schools don’t necessarily follow the national curriculum but don’t follow the curriculum of international schools. Most are run by religious orders like the Sacred Heart Convent School and Assumption College.
2. The government closely monitors all public schools.
The government’s Ministry of Education closely monitors and manages all public schools in Thailand. Such public schools offer free schooling for all Thai nationals.
3. There are mainly three different education sectors in Thailand.
The Thai educational sector can be divided into three and they are as follows:
a. Private schooling – a curriculum of choice is undertaken but mandated subjects by the Ministry of Education are observed
b. Government schooling – fully funded by the Thai government and offers free matriculation for all Thai nationals. Follows the national curriculum provided by the State.
c. International schools – follow international curricula like Edexcel, the Cambridge Assessment International Education, the International Baccalaureate, and the British Curriculum.
4. Thai students receive free education.
You wouldn’t have to worry about tuition fees if you are a Thai parent. All Thai nationals are entitled to free education until Grade 9.
5. There is compulsory schooling for nine years.
Education is free until Grade 9 so Thai nationals have no reason whatsoever not to enroll their child in public schools. All Thai nationals are required to have at least finish nine years of schooling.
6. Pre-school can be free but it is optional.
The Thai government also provides funding for children enrolled in pre-schools. Three years of pre-schooling can be undertaken before formal schooling begins. Pre-school however is not mandatory. A parent can choose pre-schools with free tuition and pre-schools run by private institutions that require matriculation.
7. There are three levels observed in government schools.
If you will be enrolling your child in a public school or a government-funded private school, your child will have to closely observe and complete three levels of schooling from age six to fifteen. Each student needs to complete each level in order to enrol in the next.
8. Public schooling: Prathom 1 – 6
This is Thailand’s elementary level. Students go to class from Monday to Friday and regular schooling lasts for only seven hours. Upon finishing this level, a student is certified to have undertaken over 1,000 hours of formal learning per year.
9. Public schooling: Matthayom 1 – 3
This is Thailand’s secondary level. A student can complete it in just three years. This level is still free for all Thai nationals and is strictly compulsory. Upon finishing this level, education will no longer be offered for free. This will be the last level that a student needs to finish to comply with Thailand’s strict compulsory education mandate of nine years.
10. Public schooling: Matthayom 4 – 6
The third level in Thailand’s educational system can also be finished in three years. It is entirely optional and no student is required by law to complete it. Parents can choose to not enrol their children in this level. If a student does not want to enrol in this level, such a student can finish a vocational course instead.
11. Thai is the language of instruction for public schools.
Subjects in public schools are taught in Thai. This is the case because national curriculums are centred on Thai values, virtues, experiences, and culture. Children in public schools first learn mathematics and the Thai language upon enrollment.
12. International schools cater to a limited number of Thai students.
Though many Thai students are now enrolled in international schools, such schools still limit the acceptance of local Thai students. International schools in Thailand follow a strict quota when it comes to the student population. Most schools require a higher number of international students than local Thai students. This trend is slowly changing as more Thai parents now prefer international schooling for their children.
13. Most private schools observe two semesters.
Your child will have to observe two semesters if he or she will be enrolled in an international school. The first semester usually begins in May and ends in October. The second semester starts every November and ends in February.
14. Thailand has 175 international schools.
Thailand is not just home to numerous beautiful beaches. It is also home to over a hundred international schools. This is the case because there are many American, British, and Australian expats in Thailand and such expats prefer enrolling their children in schools that follow Western curricula. Bangkok is home to 70+ international schools.
15. English is the mode of instruction in international schools.
Expats also highly prefer enrolling their children in international schools because all subjects are taught in English. This mode of teaching makes it easy for their children to smoothly adjust to an entirely new educational atmosphere. Moving from one country to another is a big life move. So ex-pats make an effort to make schooling easier by looking for educational institutions that uniquely tend to their children’s needs.