Thailand is a country in South East Asia known for its growing economy. Such growth asks for strengthen the educational quality to create educationally optimized workforce for the nation. Currently, Thailand is a home to a growing community of expatriates, which is definitely a result of better access to education in Thailand. This in turn meets the rising of job opportunities in Thailand. As well as the country’s high standard of living. With a Human Development Index value of 0.755, Thailand’s standards of living are set to rise. With four regions, Thailand has many opportunities for expatriates.
If you are an expatriate new to living in Thailand, you may still be unfamiliar to some aspects of the country. It may be the daily costs of living or finding transportation. To navigate a new country can be stressful. These aspects may get easier if you are living alone. But coming with a family may be more complex. Especially in the case of having children who are minors.
In such a case you will have to enroll your child or dependent in a school in Thailand. This is for them to complete the required years of schooling. At this point you may wonder what the education system in Thailand entails. You may also want to know what options you have before you make such a big decision. Thai schooling typically lasts for 14 years, from the ages of 4 to 18. But parents may enroll their younger children in playschool or nursery school before the beginning of school at their discretion. Education in Thailand is prioritized by the government. The UNESCO states that the literacy rate is 96.7% in Thailand. This means that the country ranks number 77 on the global scale for literacy. Thus, the government has taken it upon themselves to improve. In contrast, statistics show that Thai students score below the global average. Where in a census of 40 countries, Thailand ranked 35 for test scores.
This has propelled the Thai government to see a revision of their policies. Moreover, they also allocated more public spending towards the education sector.
Public schooling in Thailand is free, where the main syllabus is taught in Thai. However, it is limited to only Thai nationals and children with at least one Thai parent. Thus, expatriate parents have the following choices:
Private schools or private bilingual schools are schools that are not national. But they offer the same or similar syllabus as national schools. Moreover, they tend to have moderate and affordable admission rates. Making them a popular choice for expatriate parents. These schools offer a variety of English language programs as well. The only drawback is that these schools are often religious. i.e. they incorporate religious teachings into their regular school syllabus. Thus, trying to find a school that has the faith of your choosing may be difficult.
Another option for parents would be to choose an international school. International schools do not teach the Thai national syllabus. Instead, they teach an accredited syllabus. One that is accepted on an international scale. As such, most expatriate parents choose this option for their children. While this option may be the costliest, it also offers the most advantages. Most international schools teach in English. Moreover, they tend to take more care to source their teachers. Moreover, if one wishes for their children to attend a university out of Thailand, international schools are the best option.
Home schooling in Thailand is also an option if one desires. While it is legal to home school a student, they will still need to pass yearly examinations. Moreover, one needs to get prior permission from the ministry of education first. Only then are they allowed to pull a child out of an institution to home school them. If an expatriate parent has no other schooling option, this may be the path to take. But it is a discouraged option as it reduces a student’s chances to join a college or university. This is because of the limited exposure to extra-curricular opportunities. Moreover, the reduced socialization a home-schooled student receives is also a perceived disadvantage.
Education does not end after receiving a high school diploma. Parents also need to consider tertiary and higher education for their children. Tertiary education in Thailand is not free for any party unless they get a scholarship. Most bachelors degree courses in Thailand run for an average of four years. Currently, Thailand has 170 higher education institutions in the country. To enter the public universities of Thailand, a student must meet the standard requirements for scores. These are based on the national board examinations. Apart from these 170 universities, there are other options. One being affiliate campuses of other privately-run universities.
Thus, in conclusion, public schools do not accept students who are not Thai. But there are still options. Thus, expatriate parents have three choices. They are, private bilingual schools, international schools or homeschooling.
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