Thailand ‘stunned’ by poor education ranking

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thailand-studentsThailand has been ranked poorly among the ten ASEAN countries for its education system in the recently released Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014 by the World Economic Forum, a result that comes not as a surprise to many, but left Education Minister Chaturon Chaisaeng “stunned” and “interested,” according to local reports.

The study asked a representative sample in each nation: “How well does the educational system in your country meet the needs of a competitive economy?” and ranked the results on a scale from 1 = not well at all and 7 = extremely well.

The ASEAN results were as follows:

Singapore 5.8
Malaysia 5.0
Brunei 4.4
Indonesia 4.3
Philippines 4.3
Laos 4.0
Thailand 3.6
Cambodia 3.2
Vietnam 3.4
Myanmar 2.1

While Thailand’s overall competitiveness ranking improved one notch from 38 to 37 in  this year’s WEF report, it ranked just 86 out of 148 countries in the quality of primary education, a poor 101 in primary education enrolment and 94 in secondary education enrolment. The overall ranking of the quality of Thailand’s education system is just 78 out of 148 countries worldwide.

Likewise, Thailand ranked just 50 out of 65 in the latest PISA test score 2009 (the latest list), placed right at the top of the poorest performers in the bottom 25 per cent.

The low scores are in fact reflecting the Thai workforce’s increasingly low capability. Economists warn that this can affect potential assessment and investment in the nation. Such scores are disseminated worldwide and are  used to rank competitiveness of each country and counted among criteria for investment consideration.

Some critics say that education in Thailand is “for some, but not for many,” meaning that those with money could afford better education and others couldn’t, a notion that is not new but does not explain why Thailand has a higher education spending as share of its GDP than Germany but far poorer results.

While the study outcome  is a source of concern for education officials, nothing has been done in the Thai education sector and things have turned worse since the 2009 PISA results, observers say.

Phawit Thongrot, assistant to the education minister, said he is further examining the WEF report’s findings so he can discuss them with the minister himself, “who is interested in this issue.”

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Thailand has been ranked poorly among the ten ASEAN countries for its education system in the recently released Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014 by the World Economic Forum, a result that comes not as a surprise to many, but left Education Minister Chaturon Chaisaeng "stunned" and "interested," according to local reports. The study asked a representative sample in each nation: "How well does the educational system in your country meet the needs of a competitive economy?" and ranked the results on a scale from 1 = not well at all and 7 = extremely well. The ASEAN results were as follows:...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

thailand-studentsThailand has been ranked poorly among the ten ASEAN countries for its education system in the recently released Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014 by the World Economic Forum, a result that comes not as a surprise to many, but left Education Minister Chaturon Chaisaeng “stunned” and “interested,” according to local reports.

The study asked a representative sample in each nation: “How well does the educational system in your country meet the needs of a competitive economy?” and ranked the results on a scale from 1 = not well at all and 7 = extremely well.

The ASEAN results were as follows:

Singapore 5.8
Malaysia 5.0
Brunei 4.4
Indonesia 4.3
Philippines 4.3
Laos 4.0
Thailand 3.6
Cambodia 3.2
Vietnam 3.4
Myanmar 2.1

While Thailand’s overall competitiveness ranking improved one notch from 38 to 37 in  this year’s WEF report, it ranked just 86 out of 148 countries in the quality of primary education, a poor 101 in primary education enrolment and 94 in secondary education enrolment. The overall ranking of the quality of Thailand’s education system is just 78 out of 148 countries worldwide.

Likewise, Thailand ranked just 50 out of 65 in the latest PISA test score 2009 (the latest list), placed right at the top of the poorest performers in the bottom 25 per cent.

The low scores are in fact reflecting the Thai workforce’s increasingly low capability. Economists warn that this can affect potential assessment and investment in the nation. Such scores are disseminated worldwide and are  used to rank competitiveness of each country and counted among criteria for investment consideration.

Some critics say that education in Thailand is “for some, but not for many,” meaning that those with money could afford better education and others couldn’t, a notion that is not new but does not explain why Thailand has a higher education spending as share of its GDP than Germany but far poorer results.

While the study outcome  is a source of concern for education officials, nothing has been done in the Thai education sector and things have turned worse since the 2009 PISA results, observers say.

Phawit Thongrot, assistant to the education minister, said he is further examining the WEF report’s findings so he can discuss them with the minister himself, “who is interested in this issue.”

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