Thailand has in recent decades invested in
raising the general level of education of the
population. The proportion of literate students is now
among the highest in Asia, although the differences are
large between older and younger Thais. Many adults have
only attended school for a few years, if even that.
Since 1921 there is a general school duty, which is
now nine years. The children start the six-year primary
school at the age of six. Almost all children attend
primary school, but in rural areas it is common for
children to stay home often and help in agriculture
instead of going to school.
Country facts of Thailand, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
More than half of Thai children attend voluntary
preschool, which is three years old and starts at the
age of three. Slightly more boys than girls are put in
Since 2009, all children have the right to free
tuition for 15 years, including two years of preschool.
But in practice, parents often have to pay for books and
other school supplies for their children.
Among the many ethnic minorities, the level of
education is lower than average. Since many people from
the minority people lack citizenship, they have limited
access to the school system.
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Most schools are run by the state, but there are also
privately owned, cooperative and religious schools.
After elementary school, there are two three-year
supplementary stages that almost four out of five pupils
(as many girls as boys) go to. Almost half of the
students from the higher secondary education program
continue to study at one of the many state or private
universities and colleges, but this is not enough to
meet the labor market's need for highly educated labor.
The oldest university, Chulalongkorn in Bangkok, was
founded in 1917.
FACTS - EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary
98.0 percent (2009)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary
Reading and writing skills
92.9 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of GDP
19.1 percent (2013)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of the state budget
19.1 percent (2013)
Prison for insulting the king's dog
The application of the strict laws against majestic crimes reaches new levels
when a 27-year-old man is sentenced to prison for offending the King's dog in a
post on Facebook. The man risks up to 37 years in prison.
The king appears to the people
King Bhumibol shows up to the public after speculation about his immediate
passing has regained momentum after he failed to celebrate his own birthday (88
years) on December 5. The King's birthday was celebrated, among other things,
with a bicycle race, led by the Crown Prince.
Corruption scandal in the military
A corruption scandal with the military in the center sails up. The
construction of the Rajabakhti Park park in Hua Hin would be a tribute to the
monarchy of the royalist military, but has instead developed into a tangle of
mutiny suspicions and construction contracts at dumped prices. 35 students are
temporarily arrested by police and soldiers as they attempt to enter the park to
protest the bribery case.
Long prison sentences for red shirts
Two red shirts are sentenced to 40 years in prison each for throwing a
grenade at a crowd during the riots in March 2014. No one was killed or injured
by the grenade but nearly 30 lives were required in connection with the violent
riots that ended with the military coup in May 2014.
New subsidies to farmers
The government is reintroducing subsidies to the country's farmers, primarily
to support the rice growers and the rubber industry.
New Constitutional Commission appointed
The military government appoints a new constitutional commission, consisting
of 21 members. The group will produce a new constitutional proposal within six
The constitutional proposal is rejected
A National Reform Council rejects the disputed constitutional proposal. This
will delay the transition to democracy, as elections can be held no earlier than
At least 20 dead when Hindu temples are blown up
A heavy explosive charge detonates at the Hindu temple Erawan in central
Bangkok. At least 20 people are killed, including 13 foreign visitors (from
China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore), and over 120 injured. The
attack takes place in a shopping and hotel area that is well-attended by both
Thai and tourists. No person or group is to blame for the attack, which Prayuth
describes as "the worst in Thailand's history". A suspected offender is captured
by a surveillance camera. Police say it is not a Thai and that the man is likely
to "belong to a network". Police say the blast charge is not similar to those
used by militant groups in southern Thailand. According to the chief of police,
the council must have required over a month's planning and carried out by more
than ten people. The police chief believes that the so-called network has
connections to people inside Thailand. Two people are eventually arrested for
Dozens of human trafficking charges
Seventy-two people, including a number of politicians and an army general,
are being prosecuted for human trafficking from Myanmar (formerly Burma) and
Bangladesh. The charges also apply to participation in a criminal network and
illegal entry of foreign nationals into Thailand.
Jail for six yellow shirts
Six former leaders of the yellow shirts are sentenced to two years in prison
each for the now disbanded movement trying to storm the Thaksin-friendly Prime
Minister Somchai's office during the 2008 protest actions.
Proposals for a new constitution receive sharp criticism
A military-appointed commission presents a constitutional proposal, which
roughly means that the electoral system is redone so that small parties can
easily seat in Parliament at the expense of large ones; that an upper house
should be set up in Parliament, in which non-elected members should sit; that
Parliament should be able to elect a non-politician or non-parliamentary member
of government (Prime Minister). The proposal receives sharp criticism from both
the Thaksin camp and the Democratic Party. The Thaksin camp believes that all
changes aim to limit their political influence and prevent Thaksin from
returning from exile. The Democratic Party is responding to a special committee
being able to take over both the government's and parliament's powers of
Christianity in the country.
Regional meeting on the refugee crisis
Following international pressure, including from the UN, Indonesia, Malaysia
and Thailand's foreign ministers meet in Kuala Lumpur to do something about the
refugee crisis. Indonesia and Malaysia promise to provide 7,000 refugees with
temporary protection, while Thailand refuses to sign the agreement. Myanmar
(formerly Burma) has reluctantly agreed to contribute to the resolution of the
Prayuth demands end of refugee trade
Prime Minister Prayuth calls for an end to refugee smuggling and commands all
provincial authorities to investigate human trafficking within ten days. A total
of at least 50 local civil servants are arrested for smuggling, while nearly 200
refugees along the Songkhla route are arrested. Thailand's strike against the
smugglers leads to a refugee crisis in the entire region, where boats loaded
with people are forced to take new routes and are sometimes redirected from
Malaysian or Indonesian beaches.
Mass grave is believed to be a camp for human trafficking
Twenty-six dead bodies are found in what is believed to be an abandoned human
smuggling camp in Songkhla province near the Malaysia border. Police say the
dead are probably Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Bangladesh.
Three local civil servants and one Myanmar citizen are arrested for human
trafficking. Tens of thousands of Rohingyans, with the help of smugglers, have
crossed the sea from Myanmar or Bangladesh to Thailand and then move on to the
Muslim countries of Malaysia and Indonesia. Thailand has developed into a hub of
smugglers' networks. A few days later, six more bodies are discovered along the
same jungle route.
The red shirts set the ceremony
The red shirts set off the annual Buddhist ceremony in memory of the victims
of the military's strike against the red shirts in April 2010. According to
organizers, this happens after the military and police surrounded the temple
outside Bangkok where the ceremony would have been held.
Russian head of government visits Thailand
As the first Russian head of government in 25 years, Prime Minister Dimitri
Medvedev visits Thailand. The two countries agree to increase cooperation in the
fight against drugs, tourism, trade and investment and that Russia will help
Thailand to develop its energy sector. The bilateral trade of the two countries
is to be doubled to ten billion dollars annually within one year. Thailand is
trying to approach Russia as a result of deteriorating relations with the
Western world following the military coup.
Tough security laws are introduced
The military government cancels the state of emergency, but instead
introduces harsh security laws in accordance with Article 44 of the new
constitution. This means that the military still has great powers of power.
New trial against Yingluck
The Supreme Court decides that a criminal trial should be held to investigate
the allegations of negligence brought against Yingluck in connection with the
costly rice program.
Increased military cooperation with China
China and Thailand agree to increase military cooperation through more joint
exercises, increased technological exchange and cheaper arms exports from China
to Thailand. China also promises not to interfere with Thailand's internal
affairs, something Thailand believes the US has done recently by requiring the
state of emergency to be lifted.
Explosion in the mall
A man is injured when two small, homemade explosive charges detonate outside
a luxury mall in Bangkok - the first explosion of similar kind since the coup.
The attack is carried out shortly after Yingluck was banned from acting
politically and a red shirt was sentenced to two years in prison. The
perpetrators are unknown.
Yingluck is convicted in national court
The Provisional Parliament retroactively puts Yingluck before the national
court for neglect and corruption in connection with the rice program. She is
convicted and banned from acting politically for five years. In connection with
the process, Yingluck asks how a person who has already been deprived of his
public duties can be brought before national law.