National Education System
The Thai education system comprises 4 levels, namely: pre-school education, primary education, secondary education, and higher education. Details of the 4 levels of education can be summarized as follows:
Pre-school Education: is provided for 3-5year old children. It aims to encourage the harmonious physical, intellectual, emotional and social development of the children prior to formal education. The pre-school education can be provided in many ways such as child care centres, nursery schools and kindergartens. The Ministry of Education has established a kindergarten in every provincial capital to serve as a model for the private ones. Since this level of education is optional, therefore, the private sector has played an active role. Most pre-schools are private and located in Metropolitan Bangkok. These schools are under the supervision of the Office of the Private Education Commission, Ministry of Education.
Primary education: emphasizes literacy, numeracy, communication skills, and abilities relevant to future occupational roles. At this level, education is compulsory and free of charge, provided for children aged 6-11 including the disadvantaged ones . Primary school curriculum is an integrated curriculum comprising five areas of learning experiences, namely: basic skills development, life experience, character development, work oriented education, and special experiences. The last area is provided for children in pratom 5 and 6 which are the last two grades at the primary level. Eight core subjects from the National Curriculum. Flexibility is built into the curriculum to integrate local wisdom and culture as long as it is consistent with the learning standards in each of the subject groups There include Thai language, mathematics, science, social studies religion and culture, health and physical education, art, career and technology, and foreign languages. Primary education is under several government agencies. Most of the government primary schools are under the Office of Basic Education Commission, Ministry of Education. There are also demonstration schools attached to some universities.
Secondary Education: is divided into two levels, each covering a period of three years. The lower level emphasizes on learners intellect, ethics morality and basic skills. It allows the learner to explore his individual interests and aptitudes through a wide choice of both academic and vocational subjects. The upper level aims to provide appropriate academic and vocational knowledge and skills correspondent with the learner’s interests and aptitudes. This knowledge and these skills will beneficial for learners to continue study at a higher level or to enter the world of work. Secondary curriculum covers eight broad subjects: Thai language, mathematics, science, social studies religion and culture, health and physical education, art, career and technology, and foreign languages. There is also a wide range of exploratory pre-vocational subjects available. The use of the credit system at this level facilitates flexibility in the teaching-learning process. Both public and private sectors are involved in the organization of secondary education. Public schools are mostly under the Office of Basic Education Commission, Ministry of Education.
Higher Education: aims at the full development of human intellectuality, and the advancement of knowledge and technology. This level may be organized in the forms of colleges, universities, or institutions for specialized studies.