Take stock Print


Millions of baht has been earmarked for educational projects around Thailand over the years, but is it being spent wisely? Looking at the amounts of money that the government has allocated to spend on upgrades and research innovations, they look more like a list of telephone numbers than the millions of baht it’s supposed to represent.


A lot of money is being spent on education; however, I would question whether it is being spent prudently. The government should be applauded for initiatives like the free education for the disabled, allowing all disabled people the opportunity to study to bachelor degree level free of charge.


However, money has been thrown away on projects such as the satellite based learning project aimed at improving student’s academic standards in small schools that have a shortage of teachers which in turn has affected standards. Surely, the shortage of teachers should be addressed with; well yes you’ve guessed it, an influx of quality teachers to fill the vacancies?


Once again, ideas on paper do not work in practice due to poor implementation procedures. Not enough support has been given to the teachers at the chalk face (and the satellite receiver).

Nine universities, the best in Thailand, will be receiving 3,000 million baht annually from 2010 to 2112 for national projects. I am all in favour of something like this as it gives Thailand’s top universities the opportunity to research national problems that need attention.


May I suggest an investigation into why Thailand’s mainstream education sector is in such a bad state? This would be a perfect opportunity for leading universities like Chulalongkorn and King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) to collect and analyse data to find out what can be done to improve the education for the majority of Thais in this country.


Of course, there are many other research projects that need the attention of Thailand’s education elite; however, this is an ideal opportunity to put some of the proposed money to good use for the majority of the population.


It is possible that members of these university faculties could well stimulate the schools and districts they visit while conducting their data collection which in turn could increase education standards just by motivating the teachers and students they come into contact with.


500 million baht has been earmarked for 14 secondary schools to be upgraded to international institutes teaching all their subjects in English. Personally, I think it is a good idea; however, while the improvements to the higher end of our education are being well funded are they being implemented correctly. Many schools that are producing English Programmes (EP) and Mini English Programmes (MEP) are encountering specific problems that need to be addressed.


I am also dismayed that the educational funding of the majority of Thailand’s students seems to be conducted in a haphazard way, seemingly without aim or focus. Surely there is a need for an education strategy that spans a period of years which is not reliant on any particular government being in power.


In my opinion, it is time for the implementation of a national education review using research conducted by Thailand’s top universities as part of their newly found windfall. By visiting rural areas where the majority of our students conduct their classes, Thailand’s academics will have the opportunity to help put the nation back on track.

Are educational funds in Thailand being spent wisely?


Teachers like Aj. Pranee Boonsaeng at Bantatprachanukoon School in Ban Phue district, Udon Thani are looking forward to the opportunity to welcome academics from Thailand’s premiere universities if they visit to conduct their research.


(Unedited article published in the Bangkok Post 5th October 2010)


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