Thailand Education System vs Manipur Education System
- Part 1 -

Chingakham Dina, Arambam Karamjit, Khwairakpam Sunita *

Students appearing for Class X Exam (High School Leaving Certificate) :: 01 March 2016
Students appearing for Class X Exam (High School Leaving Certificate)on 01 March 2016 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam

Thailand is one of the biggest business centres in southeast Asia. It plays major role to attract spotlight in world tourism and it serves a regional transit hub to other ASEAN nations. All these successes are the product of how the human resources have been nurtured and trained. To understand the underlying background, it is important to know the education system of the country which is the source of success. We summarize a short educational background of Thailand. Literacy rate of Thailand is 96.7%.

Education System: Thailand has free education system to all her citizens up to 12 standard. Preprimary school takes 2-3 years. It is followed by 6 years elementary school, then another 6 years high school including upper secondary school. In Thai education system, students will attend at primary schools up to class 6th standard. High schools start from class 7 to class 12. Schools in Thailand can be divided broadly into four categories. They are

1. Government School
2. Private school
3. International school and
4. Buddhist school

Apart from formal education there is also non-formal education run by community centres with the help of government. There are very fewer private schools in Thailand compared with system in Manipur. Private to government school ratio is about 1:10, which means there is one private school for every ten government schools. Buddhist monastery is learning centre about Buddhist religion and there are 424 recognized Buddhist school run by monastery for formal education (Source: Wikipedia, 28 December, 2015). In higher education, the number of government and private universities are closer. International schools are affiliated to education board of other countries such as Britain, USA, Canada and Australia etc. International schools also belong to private..

International schools are for business class people and tuition fees are very expensive. There are many International schools in Thailand. They are truly international in terms of environment and management. Students are from different countries and teachers are also from different nationalities. International schools in India and international schools in Thailand are very different. In India, international schools are just by name, and everything from students, teachers, management, learning atmosphere, and teaching-learning are all in Indian style. But international schools in Thailand or in another countries are truly in international atmosphere. Tuition fees at international schools range from Rs 5 lakhs to 13 lakhs per year.

There has been a wave of English medium instruction class since the past 10-15 years ago. Under this influence, well equipped schools run private classes inside the system of government schools. They are called MEP (Mini English Program) and EP (English Program). In MEP program, most of the main subjects such as mathematics and science are taught in English. In EP program, all the subjects are taught in English except Thai Language subject which is similar characteristic to private schools of Manipur. Government schools have free education system however students pay a little amount of money as admission fee. MEP and EP programs are private, so students are paying around Rs 60,000-70,000 per year. There are two semesters in a year.

Private schools with medium of instruction in English have tuition fees ranging from Rs 2-3 lakhs per year.

School Atmosphere

Discipline: Thai schools and universities are very strict about their school uniform. Uniform and books are heavily discounted for government schools up to 12 standard. Students will arrive school before 8:00am. On daily basis, 4-5 teachers will be standing at the gate and greet the students every day taking turn one after another. Hair, nail, ear rings, shocks, and uniform must be checked carefully at the school gate. This is the beginning of school discipline of the day. Students must bow down their head with folding hands. If the head bow is not polite enough and satisfactory, the teacher will correct to make it to acceptable gesture which begins Thais' respect for each other.

School assembly starts at 8:00 am and classes start from 8:30 am. Schools close at 4:30pm. Students are not allowed wearing shoes inside the classroom. They must remove and keep it outside or inside the room but at the back of the room. Discipline and politeness reflects to Thailand's major attraction of tourists which indirectly helps to boost tourism industry.

Classroom: Most of the classrooms install computer and projector, and TV along with whiteboard. They use modern teaching and learning aids in the classroom. All the rooms will be fitted with fans, power outlet, microphone jack, wall speaker, overhead projector, air conditioners in most of the classrooms, smart-board which is connected to main computer and it works as touch screen.

Library is equipped with computerized system. Mini theatre room is arranged with audio-visual, screen for seminar or meeting. There is usually auditorium hall for every school for meeting, gathering, and to perform activities. Computer literacy is good at school level and it is accessible to all students. When the students are in class 8th level they have done Microsoft office, creating games using Microsoft office, multimedia-sound and video editing, and basic programming and learning computer languages.

Every student has his own place and is accepted if he is good at any field not only in academic field. Hardly any students will fail. Whether good or bad, students are kept in the school and their education will be going on and on, and when it comes 9th standard, weaker students will be sorted out and they will be sent to vocational training schools. This is very important point we can learn from them. School will not remove them straight by failing them. When they have grown up, and knew their sense of responsibility, they started thinking and taking up any course suitable with them even though they are not allowed to continue in general course. Otherwise their career might have been ruined by failing them.

Wave of English Learning: English learning and class with English medium have been growing popular in Thailand over the past 10-15 years with program such as MEP (Mini English Program ) and EP (English Program). Most of the schools hire teachers from USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Filipinos constitute the largest number of teachers from Asian countries. Many language courses are offered at school. Popular foreign languages are English, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, and Germany.

Student Exchange Program: Foreign student exchange program through AFS (American Field Service of youth exchange program) which is intercultural interaction program for one year exchanging students is popular. Many foreign students come to Thailand, and many Thai students go to foreign countries under this program. The students are exposed to outsiders, and this reflects to their personal job, career, and business later in their future. When European and American students return home, they got special credit points from the exchange program that added to their overall high school scores. Most of these foreign students came to get cultural exposure and to have experience of different culture before joining to university. Students from Thailand will go for exchange program at any level.

In our education system of Manipur, when a class 10th or 12th students spend one year and came home after exchange program, his credit or certificate will not be accepted in mainstream education, so the whole point and value of exchange will be useless and time wasting things. For example, a Thai student joins exchange program during class 10, then he comes back the following year, he can join class at 11th standard. They value the experience as an important part of learning. This is not the case in Manipur. In Manipur, we learn for examination only and it doesn't matter much for your participation or experience as long as you show a certificate with good score and that influences for unfair means during exams to get good score.

School-A Mini Community: Thais pay much more attention to extracurricular activities, sports, health education, and art. In India, schools are considered for only text book learning. In Thailand, schools and social activities are closely related. All social activities, religious ceremonies will be organized and celebrated within the school system. Students learn all kinds of skills such as cooking, weaving, farming, recycling materials, etc through projects. In many schools, students will cook and sell food once a week inside the campus. Healthy life and sports are highly encouraged.

Annual sports days are celebrated around the same time in many schools all over Thailand. In the same way universities sports days are also celebrated almost at the same time throughout the whole country but in different time from high school. School children run bank inside school and they learn money management from early age.

Art, music, handicraft, hydroponic plantation, etc are actively participated by students. School is a place for social gathering and it is the place where children love to come and play but in Manipur, school is such a boring and burdensome place. Students tried to avoid school in Manipur. All school children have their lunch at school, so every school manages school canteen very well.

To be continued..

Writers' Profile:
Chingakham Dina- Working at Pathumwiali School, Pathumthani Thailand. Also taught in Cambodia / Can be reached at chingakham(at)yahoo(dot)com
Arambam Karamjit- Teacher SKN School, Nonthaburi, Thailand/Former Retail Outlet Manager, Hang Ten Co Ltd, Singapore / Can be reached at ronin9992008(at)gmail(dot)com
Khwairakpam Sunita- Works at Pathumwilai School, Pathumthani Thailand / Can be reached at sunita.khwairakpam(at)yahoo(dot)com

* Chingakham Dina, Arambam Karamjit, Khwairakpam Sunita wrote this article for
The sender can be contacted at chingakham(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This article was posted on April 02 , 2016.

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