10 Wishes - Improving Education in Thailand
For a start, we are not teachers of English, and these are just general comments. The education system in Thailand, as judged from newspapers comments, is being reformed continuously. People write many comments about how bad rote learning is (it served me well, I tend to think) and that learning should be brain-based (as opposed to kidney-based?)
Our simple observations tell us that general education needs much improvement. While most Thai people manage pretty well speaking the language (maybe not writing it though), mathematical skills are abysmal. We noticed a few times that otherwise well educated people can not manage even the simpliests calculations. Not being able to count will have you being exploited throughout your life.
There are strong indirect indications that education is not good. One is the astonishing number of 'international schools'. We do understand there is a need for such institutions for the international community. Possibly it is advised to have your kids learn in English and based on an international curriculum. After all most families do not stay in Bangkok forever, and kids need to be able to pick up the same system of education at 'home'. However these schools also cater to Thai students, and Thai parents will go all around town just to bring their children to their favored (and expensive school), creating mayhem on the streets in the process. Now let us compare this with the situation in most of continental Europe. Any basic school in even the smallest village in the place where I come from, will give you an education that enables you to go to university later in life, and that is how it should be. No need for parents to go searching for the 'best school' around, the schools should all have adequate standards.
Another indicator of how bad things are, is the high number of 'tutor services' available. Instead of heading home directly after school, children are sent for further tutoring. Well teaching should be adequate enough for most students at school itself, and except for the mentally impaired or children needing special attention, tutor schools should not be necessary and should actually be avoided (there should be time for recreation in a child's life).
Parents in Bangkok should actually be blamed for a lot of things going on. Waking kids up at 5 A.M. so as to bring them to a school on the other side of town, getting stuck in the traffic for hours, borders on child abuse in our opinion.