History and Development of Thai Education

  • Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri SirindhornEmail author
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 42)


This chapter begins by examining the indigenous Thai concept of education. It then provides an overview of the historical evolution of Thai education. This section describes education in the old days when monks were the teachers and temples were the schools. Then it discusses the visionary reforms of King Rama V or King Chulalongkorn the Great, my great-grandfather, to modernize and secularize Thai education and to extend education to the provinces. It also describes how His Majesty was far ahead of his times in terms of taking two extended trips to Europe and visiting other parts of Asia such as India and Indonesia to learn from other systems of education and cultures. This chapter touches on many aspects of education to stimulate further reading and discussion, especially with respect to comparative perspectives on educational development. More elaborate details on these various topics are provided in subsequent chapters of the book. In the latter part of the chapter, there is information on various special projects which I have launched in the past 37 years to improve access to Thai education for all and to raise its quality such as education for various disadvantaged groups, science schools for the gifted, and education for disaster victims. This chapter should provide readers with a historical introduction to Thai education about which they can read in other chapters to learn more in detail about contemporary Thai education and the many challenges it currently faces.


  1. Bradley, William. L. 1984. Syam sam samai chak sai ta Mo Bradley [Siam during three eras: From the perspective of Dr. Bradley] [Thanya Phonanan and Kengkat Ngamkhachonwiwat, trans.]. Bangkok: Phuan Chiwit.Google Scholar
  2. ———. 2004. Sayam tae pang kon: 35 bi nai Bangkok khong Mo Bradley. Bangkok: Matichon.Google Scholar
  3. Chunlachakkraphong. 1958. First-class ticket: The travels of a prince. London: Redman.Google Scholar
  4. Garelli, Stephane. 2008. IMD world competitiveness yearbook 2008. Lausanne: IMD-International Institute for Management Development.Google Scholar
  5. Hilaire, Brother Francois Touvenet. n.d.. Darunsueksa [Youth education]. Thai language textbooks for each grade level. Bangkok: Thai Watana Panich.Google Scholar
  6. IMD. See Institute for Management Development.Google Scholar
  7. Institute for Management Development. 2014a. The world competitiveness scoreboard 2014.
  8. ———. 2015. IMD world competitiveness yearbook 2015.
  9. ISAT. 2017. List of international schools in Thailand. Bangkok: International Schools Association of Thailand. Scholar
  10. Lin Yutang. 1955. The wisdom of China and India. New York: Modern Library.Google Scholar
  11. Lord, Donald C. 1969. Mo Bradley and Thailand. Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdsman.Google Scholar
  12. Manich Jumsai, M.L. 1951. Compulsory education in Thailand. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  13. Martin, Michael O., Ina V. Mullis, Pierre Foy, and Gabrielle M. Stanco. 2012. TIMSS 2011 International results in science.
  14. Ministry of Education (MOE). 1994. 102 pi krasuangsueksathikan [102 years of the ministry of education]. Bangkok: Arunkanphim.Google Scholar
  15. Mullis, Ina V. S., Michael O. Martin, Pierre Foy, and Alka Arora. 2012. TIMSS 2011 International results in mathematics.
  16. NRC. See Office of the National Research Council.Google Scholar
  17. OEC. See Office of the Education Council.Google Scholar
  18. OECD. 2016. PISA 2015: Results in focus. Paris: OECD Publishing. Scholar
  19. Office of the Education Council. 2006. Sasatrachan Dr. Sippanondha Ketudat: Nakpatirup kansueksa Thai [Professor Dr. Sippanondha Ketudat: Thai educational reformer]. Bangkok: OEC.Google Scholar
  20. ———. 2007a. Education in Thailand 2007. Bangkok: OEC.Google Scholar
  21. ———. 2007b. Samanthana kansueksa Thai nai wethi sakon [Thai educational competency on the world stage]. Bangkok: OEC.Google Scholar
  22. ———. 2015. Education in Thailand 2015. Bangkok: OEC.Google Scholar
  23. Office of the National Education Commission (ONEC). 1976. Education for life and society: A report of the Committee for Establishing the Framework for Educational Reform. Presented to the Ministry of Education for Submission to the Cabinet, December 4, 1974. Bangkok: ONEC.Google Scholar
  24. Office of the National Research Council of Thailand. 2006. Thep ratanamethi [The academic princess]. Bangkok: Office of the National Research Council of Thailand.Google Scholar
  25. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). 2014. PISA 2012 results in focus.
  26. Piore, Michael J. 1972. Notes for a theory of labor market stratification. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  27. Rajavaramuni Phra (Prayudh Payutto). 1987. Buddhism and education (Translated and poetry by Grant A. Olson). Bangkok: Equanimity House.Google Scholar
  28. Reich, Michael. 2008. Segmented labor markets and labor mobility. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schouten, Joost. 1889. Siam 250 years ago. A description of the Kingdom of Siam, written in 1636. Bangkok: Bangolem Press.Google Scholar
  30. Silapakorn University, Faculty of Architecture. 1982. Samut phap sathabatayakam krung ratanakosin sompot krungratanakosin 200 pi 2525 [Book of pictures of Ratanakosin architecture: To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Ratanakosin 1982]. Bangkok: Department of Fine Arts.Google Scholar
  31. Sirindhorn, H.R.H.Princess Maha Chakri. 1978. Kanwang rakthan kansueksa nai rachakan phrabatsomdetphrachulalomklauchauyuhua [The building of educational foundation in the reign of King Rama V]. In Chaluem phra kiat lae ruam prarachaniphon ( 2510–2520) [Collection of Works (1967–1977) by H.R.H.Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn], 93–115. Bangkok: Bangkok Bank.Google Scholar
  32. ———. 1999. Ratanaphinit nithit kansueksa: Ruam pathakatha dan kansueksa nai somdej prathepratanasuda…sayambromrachakumari [Royal reflections on education: A collections of speeches on education by H.R.H.Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn]. Bangkok: Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Foundation.Google Scholar
  33. ———. 2004. Education of the disadvantaged: A lecture by H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Bangkok: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  34. ———. 2005a. Education is the golden key: A lecture by H.R.H.Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Bangkok: Office of the Education Council, Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  35. ———. 2005b. My career in education: A lecture by H.R.H.Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Bangkok: Office of the Education Council, Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  36. ———. 2006. Science, technology and development, A lecture by H.R.H.Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Bangkok: National Science and Technology Development Agency.Google Scholar
  37. ———. 2008. ICT as a tool to harness knowledge and technology for sustainable development, the keynote address at the UNCTAD XII High-Level Roundtable, Accra, Ghana.Google Scholar
  38. Sukich Nimmanheminda. 1970. An historical note on the National Education Plans. In Education in Thailand: A century of experience, ed. Ekavidya Nathalang, 85–94. Bangkok: Ministry of Education. Department of Elementary and Adult Education.Google Scholar
  39. Tej Bunnag. 1970. From monastery to university: A survey of education from 1824 to 1921. In Education in Thailand, 1–13, op. cit.Google Scholar
  40. Thai Khadi Research Institute, ed. 1985. Mo Bradley kab sangkhom Thai [Dr. Bradley and Thai society]. Bangkok: Thai Khadi Research Institute, Thammasat University.Google Scholar
  41. The IT Princess. 2003. Information Technology Project under the initiative of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Bangkok: The IT Project under the Initiative of H.R.H.Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, NSTDA.Google Scholar
  42. The National Commission on Women’s Affairs. 1993. Thai women. Bangkok: The Amarindra Printing Group.Google Scholar
  43. TIMSS and PIRLS International Study Center, Lynch School of Education, Boston College, & International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. 2011. TIMSS and PIRLS 2011: Relationships among reading, mathematics, and science achievement at the fourth Grade—implications for early learning.
  44. UNESCO Bangkok. 2014. PISA 2012: Happiness or performance? In News from UNESCO Bangkok.
  45. Watson, Keith. 1980. Educational development in Thailand. Hong Kong: Heinemann Educational Books (Asia).Google Scholar
  46. Weber, Karl E. 2005. Tsunami 2004: Nam chai Thai. Bangkok: National Identity Board, Royal Thai Government.Google Scholar
  47. Wyatt, David K. 1969. The politics of reform in Thailand: Education in the reign of King Chulalongkorn. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s Personal Affairs DivisionBangkokThailand

Personalised recommendations