Quality of education
The quality of education that children receive in Thailand is also a major concern. Studies have shown that the learning level of Thai children in major subject areas has declined over the past 10 years. In recent years, results of the National Achievement Test have been dismal, with average scores for Grade 6 and Grade 12 students in core subjects below 50 per cent.
UNICEF is also working to mainstream the Child-Friendly School (CFS) concept into national education system. Currently, there are about 1,500 schools applying CFS concepts for over 240,000 children. In addition, UNICEF is promoting the use of students’ mother tongue as medium of instruction in the classroom, and the government has adopted this as the new language policy in schools.
The Child-Friendly School (CFS) model is simple — it promotes the operation of schools “in the best interest of the child”. Under the CFS model:
• Educational environments must be safe, healthy and protective, endowed with well trained teachers, adequate resources and appropriate physical, emotional and social conditions for learning
• Children’s rights must be protected and opportunities must be provided for children’s voices to be heard. All children – including children who are poor, disabled, living with HIV or from ethnic and religious minorities – must be treated equally
• Teaching methods should focus on a child-centered approach
• Learning environments should encourage children to learn and grow. Lessons for children must include essential life skills aimed at keeping them safe and building the skills they will need to fulfill their potential and contribute fully to society
• The CFS model also includes partnerships between schools and the community. Since children have the right to be fully prepared to become active and productive citizens, their learning must be linked to the wider community
• Of 8,276 early childhood centres, only 34 per cent meet government minimum standard
• Thailand stands at 50th for Reading, 50th for Mathematics and 49th for Science among 65 countries participating in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2009
• The results of 1st round external assessment of 30,010 schools conducted by the Office of National Education Standards and Quality Assurance (ONESQA) in 2001-2005 showed that 19,507 (65 per cent) fell below a “satisfactory” level of student, teacher, and school administrator dimension
• Average score from the National Achievement Test in recent years for Grade 6 students and Grade 12 students were below 50 per cent in English, Mathematics, Science and Social Science, according to a National Economic and Social Development Board's report in 2008