Low ranking for quality despite high spending

national September 05, 2013 00:00

By Supinda na Mahachai

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The Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) is blaming Thailand's poor ranking in terms of education on high costs and relatively low returns.

In a recent report, the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Thailand eighth in the 10-member Asean grouping in this category, which was even lower than Vietnam and Cambodia.

Obec secretary-general Chinnapat Bhumirat said yesterday that in relation to its gross domestic product, Thailand spent a large amount on education, especially on teachers’ salaries.

“So when the quality of education in Thailand is ranked even lower than a country that spends less in terms of its GDP, it is possible that the education is actually poor,” he suggested.

Chinnapat said Obec would assign its relevant units to study the WEF ranking in a bid to resolve the problem.

He insisted that efforts were already being made to address the problems, such as evaluating teachers based on students’ performance; equipping students with analysis, language and ICT (information and communications technology) skills; and encouraging more youngsters to opt for vocational education.

Meanwhile, Deputy Education Minister Sermsak Pongpanit said his ministry would not ignore the ranking. “We will pay attention so we can improve,” he said.

Chulalongkorn University lecturer Assistant Professor Sompong Jitradab said the WEF ranking was reliable and that it would spur relevant authorities to do something.

“Over the past four or five years, teams from other Asean countries have come to Thailand to look at how the education sector can be improved, and they’ve managed to deliver results. Yet Thailand is unable to solve its educational problems,” he lamented.

He said up to 1.6 million Thai children were unable to read or write, adding that this problem was not new and had plagued the country for nearly two decades.


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