How do we improve education?
The Economist, on 16 June 2012, had an article on Education in Thailand
In Thailand, more money has recently been spent on schools, but the quality of education has got worse.
Thailand now spends about 20% of the national budget on education, which is a lot!
"Yet results are getting worse, both in absolute terms and relative to other countries in South-East Asia."
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Exam results show that Thai kids' scores in English, maths and science have been largely falling.
The Global Competitiveness Report from the World Economic Forum ranked Thailand 83rd in terms of its 'health and primary education'.
This is below Vietnam and Indonesia!
Most of Thailand's growing education budget has gone on higher pay for teachers.
NOW, look for a moment at the health service in the UK.
Most of the money poured into hospitals in the UK seems to have been used to enrich the administrators and top doctors, rather than to help the patients.
Good nurses are disgusted at the way some hospitals are being run.
Many have quit in disgust, to be replaced by duds.
Back to Thailand.
"Most Thai teachers are excellent in teaching grammar, some have been teaching grammar for over 10 years but they simply can not speak in English...
"The answer is get rid of the bureaucratic system..."
"Most Thai people I know, prefer to watch soap opera, go shopping and most hardly ever touch any books or newspapers...
"No wonder a soap opera star and liar like Thaksin gets elected each time.
"Indonesia has been able to make rapid progress in education, because it was only spending 1.5% of its GDP on public education in 2001 (had remained at such pitiful levels from 1965-2001, now its increased to over 4%, the average Thailand has been spending for the past 40 years.
"A better example to follow is Latin American countries which have been spending alot of money education, but with little to show for it in the past, like Thailand. Recently, countries like Chile, Brazil and Mexico have made alot of progress in the PISA, by focusing on the poorest and worst performing students. They have paid parents to send their children to go to school, getting good grades."
"I think one of the other factors involved is the culture of cheating in the academic systems here. Tea money, which is money 'donated' to schools to assure admission of unqualified students gives unfair advantage to privileged families, and enforces a culture that rewards corruption, not hard work.
"I have also seen companies that privileged students pay to have English work written for them by native English speakers. With the elite setting this kind of example, there is no way the education will ever be elevated. It's all about what you can put on paper, even if you did or didn't do it here."
"Why should they work hard? They don't have to worry about starvation, winters. They are a rice exporting country. They have a relatively low population density for an Asian country. They are not packed in like in Java or Bangladesh. Its worse now, because alot of the dirty work is done by Burmese and Cambodians. They look around and they see the Burmese, Cambodians, Laotians - all much poorer than them."
"Text books, monopolized by a few vendors, are obsolete..."
"Remember, the country's economy has been tourism-driven for decades. Smiles and hospitality earn you money; textbooks and literacy don't...
"Thai kids are highly obsessed with technology and gaming."
"Many of the Thai teachers are not competent to teach the content of their courses. This is a result of being rubber stamped through a corrupt education system run by self-important, silk-suit-wearing government officials who mostly should be sacked for either incompetence, arrogance or a hideous bouffant."
"My Indonesian associate said some of the elementary schools in Indonesia should hire former bar girls / street hawkers to teach children English. Most of the teachers in poorer areas, don't speak any English. Its most likely more true in Thailand
"But actually, many Thai university students can be easily put to shame by the English ability of some bar girls and taxi drivers, such as this motorcycle taxi driver who just gave an interview partly in English to the BBC."