For every child, the right to learn
Without quality education, children face major barriers to future employment, earning potential and fulfilling their dreams. They are more likely to suffer adverse health outcomes and less likely to participate in decisions that affect them – threatening their ability to shape a better future for themselves and their societies.
The past decade has seen enormous improvements in access to education, with primary school enrolment almost universal. Disparities become more evident at the secondary level, with lower and upper secondary school enrolment at 86 and 69 per cent respectively. The largest proportion of children not in school are from disadvantaged communities, migrants or children living with a disability.
Based on international and national assessments, basic reading and numeracy skills in early grades are low, and scores in science and mathematics stagnate at the lower secondary level. Student performance is often dependent on their socio-economic status and whether Thai is spoken at home. Those from rural areas attending schools with few resources are also less likely to perform well.
Many students face challenges relating to inclusion, child participation, safety and their emotional well-being at school – which leaves them feeling disconnected and affects their learning, attendance and confidence.
And since the COVID-19 pandemic, over 13 million children and young people have experienced learning loss due to school closures during lockdowns. Limited household internet access has made distance learning a major challenge for many.
UNICEF strives to enable more children to complete inclusive and equitable quality basic education that equips them with relevant knowledge and 21st century skills. We focus on developing foundational learning and skills in the early years through supporting projects for mobile libraries, hill tribe schools and mother tongue-based multilingual education, as well as developing transferable skills at the secondary level to help learners transition from school to work.
UNICEF is working with the Government to develop and implement a new, inclusive curriculum that addresses the needs of all learners and embraces digital learning. Teachers are being trained to improve the areas that are most relevant to young learners in today’s world, such as STEM, digital competencies and workforce skills.
UNICEF is examining why vulnerable children are dropping out at the secondary level and supporting interventions to help them stay in school, while also working with the Government to build policy for safe and inclusive schools. Generating evidence, particularly on gender-based and school-related violence, discrimination and mental health, is key for helping develop a national school safety and student well-being framework to guide schools.
UNICEF is leading knowledge sharing on research and evaluation in the education sector as well as supporting national administrative education data collection and the mapping of inequity to inform policy and planning.