JUST A THOUGHT: Thailand sorely lacks a reading culture

A recent survey that might be more alarming than the one on Thais lagging behind various other Asean countries in English skills involves something even more basic: reading. The National Statistical Office (NSO) survey revealed that 25.3 per cent of the 59.2 million literate Thais over six years of age did not read! Almost half of these 15 million non-reading literates preferred to watch television, 36 per cent said they could not spare the time, and almost a third said they were simply not interested in, well, basically reading anything at all! While neighbouring Malaysia has declared itself on track to becoming a fully developed nation by 2020, Thailand still faces a very fundamental challenge. And while Malaysia is thinking about how to develop its human capital further, Thailand has failed to instil in its youth even the most basic tool for obtaining knowledge. What has happened to our education system? Or are parents to blame for not paying enough attention to their children? Are the media and the Internet to blame for distracting children from reading books? Whatever the reasons, Thailand now has a


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