© 2018

Education in Thailand

An Old Elephant in Search of a New Mahout

  • Gerald W. Fry
  • The first ever (in English) truly comprehensive book on Thai education

  • Illuminates many striking paradoxes associated with Thai education

  • Offers rich and extensive empirical data on educational inequalities and disparities in Thailand

  • Provides insights into the nature of quality problems at all levels of education

  • Includes an appendix with brief biographies of prominent Thai educators, past and present

  • Includes two chapters by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, one on the history of Thai education and one on the education of the disadvantaged


Table of contents

  1. Educational Issues: Quality

    1. Sumonta Promboon, Fred N. Finley, Kittisak Kaweekijmanee
      Pages 423-459
    2. Pruet Siribanpitak
      Pages 461-476
    3. Alain Mounier, Phasina Tangchuang
      Pages 477-499
  2. Planning, Policy, Reforms, Leadership, and Accountability

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 501-501
    2. Waraiporn Sangnapaboworn
      Pages 517-554
    3. Sirilaksana Khoman
      Pages 579-596
    4. Somwung Pitiyanuwat, Samphan Phanphruk, Tan Pitiyanuwat
      Pages 597-623
  3. Alternative Educational Paths and Future Directions

  4. Back Matter
    Pages 711-744

About this book


This interdisciplinary book offers a critical analysis of Thai education and its evolution, providing diverse perspectives and theoretical frameworks. In the past five decades Thailand has seen impressive economic success and it is now a middle-income country that  provides development assistance to poorer countries. However, educational and social development have lagged considerably behind itsglobally recognized economic success. This comprehensive book covers each level of education, such as higher and vocational/technical education, and such topics as internationalization, inequalities and disparities, alternative education, non-formal and informal education, multilingual education, educational policy and planning, and educational assessment. The 25 Thai and 8 international contributors to the volume include well-known academics and practitioners. Thai education involves numerous paradoxes, which are identified and explained. While Thailand has impressively expanded its educational system quantitatively with much massification, quality problems persist at all levels. As such, the final policy-oriented summary chapter suggests strategies to enable Thailand to escape “the middle income trap” and enhance the quality of its education to ensure its long-term developmental success.


Buddhist Education Education for All Thai education Thai educational leadership Thai higher education Thai moral education Thai shadow education education and inequality in Thailand education in Thailand language policy in Thailand regional educational disparities research and development in Thailand

Editors and affiliations

  • Gerald W. Fry
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

About the editors

Gerald W. Fry is a Distinguished International Professor at the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota.  He received his BA from Stanford University, an MPA from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, and his Ph.D. from Stanford University.  Previously Dr. Fry was a professor of political science and international studies at the University of Oregon where he also directed the International Studies Program and the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies.  He was the team leader for major Asian Development Bank projects related to education reform in Thailand and Laos.. He has previously taught at Stanford  and various universities in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam.  In 1991-1992 he was a Pew Fellow in International Affairs at the Kennedy School at Harvard. His many publications include the books, Pacific Basin and Oceania; The International Education of Development Consultants: Communicating with Peasants and Princes; the International Development Dictionary; Thailand and its Neighbors: Interdisciplinary Perspectives; Association of Southeast Asian Nations; and Historical Dictionary of Thailand.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Education in Thailand
  • Book Subtitle An Old Elephant in Search of a New Mahout
  • Editors Gerald W. Fry
  • Series Title Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects
  • Series Abbreviated Title Educat.Asia-Pacific Region
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018
  • Publisher Name Springer, Singapore
  • eBook Packages Education Education (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-981-10-7855-2
  • eBook ISBN 978-981-10-7857-6
  • Series ISSN 1573-5397
  • Series E-ISSN 2214-9791
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages LXXIV, 744
  • Number of Illustrations 39 b/w illustrations, 74 illustrations in colour
  • Topics International and Comparative Education
    Educational Policy and Politics