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Thailand Education Facts


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.

  • COUNTRYAAH: 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 preschool.

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.

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.

  • Educationvv: Provides school and education information in Thailand, covering middle school, high school and college education.


Proportion of children starting primary school

98.0 percent (2009)

Number of pupils per teacher in primary school

16 (2017)

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 months.


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 2017.


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 the act.


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 crisis.

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.

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