This paper gives an overview of the education system in Thailand and also my personal experience in one of the schools. Thailand follows the k-12 education system that is common in many parts of the United States. This system comprises of 13 grades that is kindergarten all through to the 12th grade. The k-12 education is observed in both public and private schools.
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The government requires all children above six years to start their kindergarten and also go through the six years of primary school which are compulsory. The word kindergarten simply means ‘children’s garden” and it is used to refer to a place where children meet with other children to start learning. It is in the kindergarten that children learn to appreciate other children and to associate with other people who are not family members.
From kindergarten, children start their early primary school at the age of seven to nine years for another six years (Beam, 2010). The Thai government oversees the pre-school and primary school through the ministry of education.
All children are expected to at least go through nine years of education and the ministry has to ensure that, this is followed. Basic education is comprised of 12 years. These years are divided into two: six years for primary education and six years of secondary education.
Secondary education is divided further into two: three years of lower secondary education and three years of senior education, this is simply written as 6-3-3. The state also supports non-formal education. The senior secondary school admits students between the ages of 15 to 17 years who may choose to enroll themselves in the vocational streams or academic streams although some schools allow students to enroll in both streams.
Students who enter into the academic stream are the ones who intend to enter into a university after their secondary schooling while students who enroll in vocational streams intend to look for employment after their schooling or can choose to further their studies.
Before a student is admitted in a senior secondary school, he/she has to pass an entrance exam and after the completion, students have to do and pass a national exam known as National Education Test (NET) before moving to the next level (Beam, 2010). The three years of senior secondary school are voluntary and only students who pass the NET exam are admitted.
I was admitted in the kindergarten in one of the schools in Thailand located in a rural area when I was six years old and went through the compulsory six years of primary education in the same school. However, I observed that, most of the children came to school simply because it was compulsory and not because their parents wanted them to do so.
Most of these children dropped out of school to often although some teachers were concerned and many are the times that they were forced to go back to school by the teachers. Some teachers even went to the extent of offering shelter and food to these children because some of them could not afford.
It is estimated that every year, a large number of children are admitted into schools and the children enter the schools with many challenges arising from factors such as poverty, which the teachers are not able take care of as needs.
The fact is that as much as it is the responsibility of parents and guardians to ensure that children get their needs, the inability of the parents and guardians to provide these basic needs to children defines the poverty status of the families as whole; but the poverty affects children directly as they require much for their development such as schooling, medication, clothing and shelter.
It is like a custom that children who are born in poverty must just remain poor. Such cultural beliefs have played a major role in keeping the children to believe that they are to be poor and hence such scenario jeopardizes the ambitions and dreams of the children to be successful in life.
Besides, many children suffer from malnutrition which weakens their body and therefore makes them vulnerable to other diseases some of which are very fatal while others may have lifelong effects on the poor children
While still in primary school, I observed that, some children lacked quality parental to child interaction due to stress experienced by the mother. it is worth noting that, fathers exert significant influence on the life of their children. With respect to this, fathers are expected to provide for their families, especially in developing nations where fathers are still viewed as the soul breadwinners.
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In cases where they are not able to provide for their families, they are highly likely to get stressed up and hence divert their attention from children.
In this case also, the relationship between the father and the children are most likely weak and children as likely to view their fathers as repressive due to harsh treatment they may get from their fathers. This does not only affect their relationship with other children, but also their performance in class falls.
Children who attend the public schools come from different social classes. Some come from high income families while others come from low income families. Those who come from the low income families often experiences varied number of problems. These problems are experienced in terms of cognitive development, academics and interpersonal relationship.
These children are likely to repeat their grades or classes, or have poor interpersonal relationships than children born in relatively rich families. The intelligence of children raised in poor families is comparatively lower than those raised in relatively rich families. The rising number of children in poverty has immensely contributed to making classrooms to become more diverse than ever anticipated.
This has been found to make classroom activities to be more challenging than usual; teaching and learning processes have increasingly become difficult and those most challenged are the teachers who must ensure the children from poor families perform just like those from rich families do.
In some cases, the teachers are forced to act beyond their classroom duties to assist the children through counseling them and giving them extra class tuition to help them catch up
From my own experience I noticed that, male children have been favored in terms of education and most of the females manage to go only through the compulsory years of education while the fellow boys are admitted into upper secondary schools. The girls are overlooked and most do not o beyond primary level.
Even though campaigns to educate the girl child have succeeded significantly, the girl-child is still marginalized academically. In our class of thirty students, only 5 girls managed to proceed to upper secondary while the number of boys was 15.
Eight girls had to drop out of school not because they had performed badly but because their families could not afford to pay for their school fees while others were literary forced out of school. However, the government has tried to intervene in some of these cases, and many girls and children from the poor families are receiving scholarships to help them pursue their dreams.
Beam, J. (2010). What is the history of k-12 education? Retrieved from https://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-history-of-the-k-12-education-system.htm