Progressive Educational Development in Thailand

Jason Lee Carter


As the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is soon to become a reality for Southeast Asia, Thailand is literally at the center of this radical change in politics, culture, business opportunities, but most especially in education. Never before has another change in the region ever forecast such a major impact on the Land of Smiles, but never before has Thailand faced an alteration of such magnitude and found itself at a major disadvantage. Countries throughout the region are making massive sweeping changes in their educational systems to try and prepare their coming generations with the skills and abilities they need to compete not only in the AEC, resulting in dramatic nationwide changes that is already increasing their global competitiveness status. Thailand, however, seems to be moving in the opposite direction, as the research will show, most poignantly in adult higher education. As the young adults entering the college and university stage of their educational development comes into fruition at the same time as the AEC is set to begin, how can these young people be expected to impact and lead their country into the future when – as the research, again, will show – their educational system seems to be taking a backward turn? How, then, can Thailand face this reality and forego its own preconceived notions and prejudices so that true, lasting educational progress can be made, yet avoiding the typical knee-jerk response of saying something is being done without actually doing anything? What are the nuances of previous hindrances compared with progressive models for improvement? How can competency and quality be selectively and accurately measured for effective change and, again, avoid saying something and never doing anything? This report will cover such issues and establish a framework for validating not the curriculums themselves, but the manner in which curriculum is presented, utilized, and evaluated in a mode that is legitimate and productive for competing on the world stage, and not sliding backwards.


education reform; adult education; Thailand; ASEAN; Critical thinking; Asian education; professional education

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