The Education Scenario In Bangkok Discussed

Education in Bangkok primarily provided via the government of Thailand’s Ministry of Education. Most of the education is provided by no-fee public schools.

The public schools are overseen by the Ministry of Education. There are also a number of private sector schools.  Education budgets have made it difficult to equally provide for each school, making rural schools not as readily supplied as city locations.

Grade Levels

The school system’s grade levels are divided similarly to the United States.  They are broken down as follows:

  • Years 1-3 consists of ages 7 to 9
  • Years 4-6 consists of ages 10–12
  • Years 7-9 consists of ages 13–15
  • Years 10-12 consists of ages 16–18

When students reach the upper levels, the system is divided into two different focuses, academic and vocational. Students who choose the academic focus typically go on to university whereas vocational students typically are trained for employment or higher levels of training for their chosen vocation.

Admission to an upper-level institution is achieved through an entrance exam.  Once accepted, students are required to pass the National Educational Test (NET) after each level in order to move on.

Mandatory attendance is required for at least the six years of elementary school and the initial three years of the six years of secondary school. If students choose to complete all six years of secondary school, they will then qualify to take either the Ordinary National Educational Test (O-Net) or the Advanced National Educational Test (A-Net).

The school year is comprised of the standard two semesters.

National Infrastructure

Most towns and villages have at least one elementary school.  Upper schools are provided as combined districts.

To compensate for the number of students the government can’t accommodate, there are a number of for-profit and non-profit private institutions that are still supervised by the Ministry.

Charitable organizations such as the Catholic Diocese and other Missionary Societies provide the majority of the private offerings.

Newer, individual private schools that are fee-based and receive subsidies from the government are also available.

Additionally, in 1996, the Distance Learning via TV (DLTV) program was set up to provide better educational opportunities across Thailand.  This program more equal opportunities for students in the more rural and remote areas, helping to balance the quality of education they received. This program also helped address the on-going problem of lack of teachers, especially in these rural areas.

The broadcasts reach out to over 17,000 schools nationwide and anyone who is able to subscribe via satellite.


At the elementary level students take eight subjects per semester that include:

  • Arts and Music
  • Foreign Languages
  • Health
  • Mathematics
  • Physical Education
  • Science
  • Social Science
  • Technology
  • Thai Language

Elementary and Secondary levels each have special programs available.  They include:

The English Program – students learn every subject in English with the exception of Thai language classes and Social Studies classes.

The Gifted Program – a science and mathematics focus program.

When students reach age 16, they are also allowed to choose elective courses.  Popular electives include:

Science program

Mathematics-English language program

Foreign language programs (Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, )

Technical and Vocational Education (TVE)

At the senior secondary level, students begin to follow one of the two focuses mentioned earlier, academic or vocational.

Currently, approximately 40% of the student population follows the vocational focus. This number may go down in the future, however, as the government works to attain more equalization between the two focuses by encouraging more students to follow the academic option.

There are over 400 vocational colleges that accept students who have completed secondary schooling. Most students attending these are day students, with a small number who live on-campus in dormitories or other overnight accommodations.

Specialized vocational schools are available that offer education and practical training in:

  • Administration
  • Agriculture farming
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Livestock farming
  • Nursing

There are three levels of Technical and Vocational education available.

  • The Certificate in Vocational Education – completed during upper secondary school.
  • The Technical Diploma – completed after the mandatory school period.
  • The Higher Diploma – when complete the student becomes qualified to apply for a Bachelor’s program.

College and University Education

There are approx. 170 public and private college-level institutions are available in Thailand that offer over 4,000 degree programs in total.

As of 2015, the total available admissions spots available for students at the college level numbered over 150,000.  However, just over 100,000 students applied to sit for the required entrance exams.

Educator Training

Training is provided to people wanting to become educators either through a teacher training college that is overseen by the Ministry of Education’s Department of Teacher Education or through a university that’s overseen by the Ministry of University Affairs.

University educator programs are now generally shaped by child-centered learning approaches.  A number of universities include the operation demonstration schools that are staffed by trainee teachers.

Author Bio: This guest post is a work of Paul Young promoting