BANGKOK – The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) latest report says accountability in the Thai education system needs to be improved and substantial challenges remain to improve the standards across all age groups.
Unesco released its 2017/2018 Global Education Monitoring Report (GEMR) Tuesday, which highlighted the responsibility of governments to provide universal education of a high standard and stressed that accountability is indispensable to achieve this goal.
The report warned that disproportionate blame for systemic educational problems can have serious negative side effects.
“Education is a shared responsibility between us all — governments, schools, teachers, parents and private actors,” said Unesco director-general Irina Bokova.
“Accountability for these responsibilities defines the way teachers teach, students learn and governments act. It must be designed with care and with the principles of equity, inclusion and quality in mind.”
Thailand has an accountability system based on test scores, yet learning outcomes have not improved from 2003-2015.
The country has not published a national education monitoring report since 2006, and the report noted there are no regulations on the maximum number of pupils per teacher in either primary or secondary education.
It also heavily criticized a teacher evaluation system that relies too heavily on pupil feedback.
According to Unesco, there are many challenges ahead for Thailand’s education system. They include:
- 99% of students complete primary education, but only 85% complete lower secondary education.
50% are not taught in the language they speak at home.
- 12% do not achieve a minimum proficiency level in mathematics by the end of primary school.
62% of out of school lower secondary school pupils are girls.
- At the end of lower secondary education, only 50% have a minimum proficiency level in reading and only 46% in mathematics.
- Only 45% of schools have basic sanitation facilities — only 60% have access to basic drinking water.
- Only 80% of the poorest students complete lower secondary education compared to 100% of the richest.
- There are 3.9 million adults unable to read a simple sentence
- A third of students aged 13 to 15 years experienced bullying between 2010 and 2015, and 29% experienced physical violence.
On the positive side, Thailand has the justifiable right to education, meaning that citizens can take the issue to court if that right is violated — something only 55% of countries currently guarantee.